Irrespective of whether the Indian Council of Medical Research accepts community transmission or they deny it at the behest of the powers that be, the nation must know that the spread of coronavirus in India is in the stage of community transmission. The shift of the pandemic from urban to rural areas after enforcing the world’s most stringent lockdown is a proof of concept, beyond any analytical or fictional representation of data being projected in news media or to the world at large.
ICMR can deny that community transmission does not exist till the oceans run dry. But a prudent step for India at large is to test, treat and repeat.
Several districts and pockets are now re-imposing lockdown in full measure which is a magnification of administrative failure.
Many of these districts imposing lockdown have no co-ordinated task force teams, contact tracing is pro-poor, testing is abysmally low and administrative arrogance is supreme.
With repeated lockdown without scientific basis, the people of India might have to move into civil disobedience and face the pandemic where it hurts.
Why lockdown instead proper planning:
Healthcare in India is not an electoral issue. Communal riots is. Therefore, politicians in power see no reason to beautify and strengthen Government hospitals, create more such hospitals and foster quality care. People at large also don’t really care about what kind of hospital they get or where they are forced to stay for their treatment.
This promotes poor planning and weak political will to enhance and upgrade existing systems to modern day state of the art technology.
If you wish to confirm what I am saying, just take a casual walk at any government hospital and you will find your answer.
Additionally, the Governments don’t want to invest in testing patients and potentially exposed as it involves time more than the fact of it involving money.
To defend their inefficiency, administrations impose lockdowns, putting people at revisited inconvenience, fuelled with indefinite uncertainty as to what lies ahead.
A prudent way ahead:
Smart governments and safe citizens will open the economy, invest in testing more than talking more, treating more than suspecting more and doing more than what is needed more.
Additionally, it would be meaningful to not further impose lockdown due to ill-informed planning and intellectual bankruptcy but promote safe civilian approach till the pandemic dies out.
About the author:
Dr. Edmond Fernandes is a community health physician at CHD Group and Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council. He is also the US State Department Alumni and columnist for several national dailies.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are the authors own. CHD Group takes no liability on behalf or for the contents expressed.