France imposed a near-total lockdown on Wednesday, and Germany a partial one, as the countries continue to be roiled by the second one wave of the coronavirus pandemic. From Italy to the Czech Republic and from Belgium to Spain, much of Europe is now under some form of lockdown or curfew. According to the World Health Association (WHO), on October 28, almost 50% (201,588) of the day-to-day new cases around the globe (404,159) came from Europe.
The second one wave of Covid-19 infections in Europe has been gathering momentum for weeks now. Countries to start with responded by imposing some emergency measures, but most steered lucid of enforcing lockdowns, worried approximately the have an effect on of more stringent restrictions on already struggling economies (and, because of this, on people). That’s changed now. The hardest lockdown is in France, which, in conjunction with Spain, is the worst hit by the second one wave — only schools and fundamental businesses will remain open from Friday till December 1.
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There used to be at all times an inevitability approximately the second one wave. As countries ease restrictions on movement and activities, populations waiting to exhale do so collectively — one immense exhalation. And we all know the connection between exhalations and this specific viral infection.
Despite protestations on the contrary by governments in Europe, there used to be also at all times an inevitability approximately a second wave of lockdowns. With their health systems overwhelmed by the surge of hospitalisations, European countries needed to break the chain of infection — and the only certain way to take action is a lockdown. Technically, masks and social distancing can also break the chain, but not when faced with the all-too-human instincts to not wear masks (or wear them each and every other way but the correct one), and to socialise.
So, what will have to Delhi (which saw a record number of cases on Wednesday) do?
The trajectory of the pandemic in Delhi shows that the Capital is now experiencing the third wave of the pandemic, even if as HT’s Covid-19 data specialist Jamie Mullick insists, this is likely deceptive. His argument is that Delhi’s insufficient testing through August (and a few a part of July), and its continued reliance on rapid antigen tests (even if it has increased the number of RT-PCR tests prior to now week, nearly 29% of its tests were antigen tests) skews the picture (and the curve).
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In Dispatch 104, on July 14, I referred to this skew (which used to be already evident). “Delhi has definitely flattened the curve, even if the peak is a little too narrow for my liking (in general, the peaks of many distributions, including infections, are more rounded and gradual),” used to be what I wrote then.
To go back to the original question: what will have to Delhi do?
One, it will have to test even more aggressively, increasing the proportion of RT-PCR tests, and take a look at to either source more accurate rapid antigen tests, or support the accuracy of the existing tests (a preceding instalment of Dispatch suggested a simple hack — two samples tested concurrently, with the subject administered the RT-PCR tests whether there’s a discrepancy between the result of the two).
Two, it needs to screen and hint as diligently as it used to be doing in May and June. Even visitors flying in from hot spots such as Bengaluru don’t seem to be at all times screened at the airport, for example.
Three, it will have to make certain that its hospitals and hospital staff are in a position to handle the hurry of patients that may be expected (and that it has enough critical care beds, oxygen, and ventilators).
Four, it will have to convene a assembly of the state catastrophe management authority and imagine imposing restrictions on social, cultural and spiritual activities; movement; and on businesses and establishments. I would recommend a total ban on the first till December 1 (starting immediately); the re-imposition of a curfew; late opening and early closing of shops and restaurants; and a four-day week for businesses that have restarted WFO (work from office) — the other day or two days can also be WFH — with a cap of 20% or 25% on staff in office.
And the time to do these things is now.