Note: Some parts of this transcript have been edited for more clarity and/or conciseness.
AN ANALYSIS OF THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT'S DECISION-MAKING PROCESS ON COVID-19
What do you think is the thought process that went behind the implementation of the lockdown and what are the basic procedures that are followed when an infected person has been identified?
Government is doing a good job. What they have implemented is the lockdown, which is necessarily to break the chain of spreading. For the virus to spread, it depends on a few factors. One is the virulence of the virus- that is potentially how the virus spreads. If you see, the spread rate of the coronavirus is 2.8. This means that each person can spread it to 3 people, whereas H1N1 was only 1. So corona’s spread is almost 3 people- one can infect three, three can infect nine, nine can infect twenty seven and that’s how it goes on. It spread at the rate of 3. So, with this kind of infection, you must be really careful and that’s why the government has put a lockdown. So, the first thing is the virulence of the virus- how fast the virus spreads. The second thing is the immunity of a person. The third is the route of transmission or the chain of transmission. So we can’t control the first two factors- the virus cannot be controlled by us and the immunity of the person can’t be increased overnight. So the last thing we can do is break the chain of transmission, which can be achieved through social distancing. The best way for this is to put a lockdown so that everybody is in their own homes and nobody is walking around and so there is no chain of spread. The virus cannot walk- it can only travel with people. So once people are inside their homes, then the virus isn’t transported and you break the chain.
Though the government has issued a lockdown, the main strategy would be to find the case, test it, to find out who are positive, and then find the people that they have contacted, and quarantine all the contacts separately, and isolate the infected person. This process will continue. These are the main procedures for controlling the virus. The lockdown is buying time for the government and health authorities to track down all the positive cases and thus track down the virus. As a nation, we must abide. If one group breaks the rule then the virus will again be difficult to contain. For every infected person, almost a thousand people are quarantined.