Is Covid containment on right track in India?

Chennai: From one of the least hit countries by Covid-19 during the last week of April, India is now in the global top-5 list.

Today, with 9,971 new cases in just 24 hours, the country’s total tally reached a new high of 2,46,628, while the death toll rose to 6,929, according to the Union Health Ministry website.

With this, India has overtaken other countries to become the fifth worst-hit nation by the pandemic. Only countries like US, Brazil, Russia and the UK are ahead of it.
If the trend continues, India is expected to become of the top three nations hit hard by coronavirus soon.

So has India failed to contain the pandemic despite a long lockdown? Speaking to  News Today, Dr J Radhakrishnan, Special Nodal Officer for the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to head the fight against the pandemic, says, “I am sure we will get over this. I have no doubts.”

He reiterated that the situation being an “as per the Epidemic Control Act, we are following whatever is the best method epidemiologists are suggesting.”

He said, “Smallpox and polio are the only eradicated diseases. We are living with all the other diseases. Even tuberculosis is expected to be eradicated only by 2055.”

Calling himself a field person, commenting on the aggressive testing led by him, he said, “We are on the right track. Aggressive testing has helped us to track and isolate patients and enabled contact tracing. Testing is the right method advocated by public health experts.”

He added, “My final message is that in the absence of a vaccine or a definitive or specific medicine, people must follow hand washing, masking, social distancing and cocooning of the vulnerable.These are the only sustainable solutions as of now.”

Dr P Balakrishnan, convener of Federation of Government Doctors Association, said the city must go into yet another total lockdown soon, “It is the failure of implementation of system. People are sluggish about following the directions given by government. Relaxation does not mean the disease is under control.”

“We need to go in for a total lockdown for 14 days, at least in Chennai and its suburbs-Kanchipuram, Chengalpet and Thiruvallur. It looks like a community spread and I feel that the entire population must be screened and we need to conduct door to door screening in a span of three to five days. Apart from thermal scanners, we need to use Digital Pulse Oximeter as some people are masking temperature by taking paracetamol. We should use the drugs used by Cuba and China.”

However, he said that the recovery rate is commendable and which is why people lost fear.

“There is a general perception that the disease is a threat to those with comorbidities, but patients under 20 years of age too have died. The government does not want people to panic. We have the infrastructure and the doctors and nurses are willing to work, but public are not co-operating. Government needs to monitor the movement and step up police patrolling.”

 

Naomi N