Ban social gatherings, enforce night curfew to contain Covid spread: Experts

Epidemiologists advocate twin approach of moderate caution and strict adherence to Covid protocol 

Published: 23rd April 2021 06:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd April 2021 06:05 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

Express News Service

KOCHI: With a vicious second wave of Covid-19 pushing the daily infection rate to a record high, medical experts are putting their heads together in a bid to stem the tide. Epidemiologists, while warning against a knee-jerk reaction to the health emergency, have advocated a twin approach of moderate caution and strict adherence to the Covid protocol to ride out these trying times.

Given the number of new cases in the state’s business capital of Ernakulam on Wednesday stood at around 4,000, compared to a daily tally of just over 20 cases last April, the matter has acquired a sense of urgency. Though experts had warned of possible future waves last October, their calls were not taken seriously. Even for the general public in India, the pandemic had become a thing of the past. In spite of multiple waves happening in various other nations, many in India believed that they were somehow immune to the virus.

“People choose to believe what they want to believe. More than scientific advice, they tend to believe the messages that come on WhatsApp. When vaccinations began, a large number of people ignored it in the first phase,” said Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, vice chairman of IMA Kerala research cell and a member of National IMA Coronavirus Task Force. When the second wave began, and the media focus returned to Covid-19 after the elections, the panic button was triggered. Dr Jayadevan has suggested key proposals to minimise the damage. 

“Looking ahead, we should identify where we went wrong and detect the root cause of the spread. The most important thing now is to stop social gathering by all means. The virus almost exclusively spreads indoors where people meet. What are we going to lose if we stop some in-house gatherings and parties for a few months? This is a small price to pay for saving thousands of human lives.

If the spread worsens, many people could get sick and die without getting adequate intensive care, as we are already seeing in other parts of the country,” he said. Dr Jayadevan also suggested collecting local data to get a hold on the number of patients infected, their symptoms and complications.

This data should be regularly updated and transmitted to the public as well as doctors. “In an emergency, it is unproductive to point fingers and blame each other. As lockdown affects all economic activity, we should avoid it at all costs. Instead, we must ban all social gatherings strictly,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Tinku Joseph, of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, said the authorities concerned should insist on stringent adherence to safety norms.“As lockdown is impractical, along with a ban on social gatherings, night curfew should be enforced strictly. Though it was announced in the state two days ago, the curfew is yet to be implemented as we can see many people gathering in public spaces,” he said. Finally, with all the proof available, it is time for even the sceptics to believe in vaccination and take the Covid vaccines at the first opportunity, the experts said.


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