A health worker draws a blood sample as part of the serological survey in Delhi | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Representational image | A health worker draws a blood sample as part of the serological survey in Delhi | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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India presents a unique opportunity for a science-based approach for handling the Covid-19 pandemic in light of new scientific evidence. The availability of excellent serological evidence based on sample surveys of large populations provides crucial information for a rational path to managing the epidemic without undue fear or panic.

A serological survey measures the fraction of the population that has Covid-specific antibodies in their blood. This provides good evidence of prior infection. Recently, the ICMR has conducted a large-scale seroprevalence study in India, which estimated that tens of millions (crores) of Indians have already had the Covid-19 infection. This finding has been verified by a serological study conducted by Thyrocare and other private labs.

This may sound like bad news, but it’s actually good news. The vast number of these infected people experienced few symptoms from the infection and did not die. The vast majority are no longer infected and are not infectious.

Since there are so many previously infected people, the Covid-19 infection fatality rate (IFR) in India implied by ICMR’s previous study is around 0.1 per cent or lower — one death per thousand infections. This is much lower than the widely reported fatality rate estimate of 2.5 per cent, which ignores the large number of unreported and uncounted cases found by the serological studies. Unreported cases must then be also counted in the denominator to estimate the true danger from the Covid-19 infection.


Also read: One in four people in Delhi infected by Covid till first week of July, sero survey finds


Lockdowns are futile

Serological surveillance is a better and more reliable technique for assessing the progress of the disease rather than crude ‘increase in number of cases’ (or ‘doubling rate’) based on case counts. Increase in the number of cases is proportional to testing intensity in a population.

Likewise, reporting crude ‘recovery rate’ is unscientific, and adds to fear psychosis by falsely exaggerating the risk perception. Both of these statistics ignore the large number of unreported cases.

In a widespread disease with a proven infection fatality rate below 0.1 per cent, like Covid-19 in India, it is unscientific and futile to impose lockdowns in a bid to limit the increase in case counts.

Lockdown measures cannot permanently control the spread of the virus, as is evident from the widespread prevalence of the disease in India despite the lockdown. At best, lockdowns delay the onset of the disease to after the lockdown is lifted, rather than preventing disease altogether. Lockdowns themselves cause severe damage to both lives and livelihoods, as people delay required healthcare and lose their jobs.

Widespread pandemic is good news

As there is substantial global data and experience now available, the progress of the disease is known more clearly. It is clear that India has reached a stage where in many cities, the prevalence is in double digits (more than 10 per cent) while the countryside is relatively less exposed.

However, the best part is that the number of deaths in India due to Covid-19 infection is quite low relative to the experience of other countries. In the end, Covid-19 infections will have a relatively small effect on India’s annual death count of nearly ten million.

India’s daily burden of ischemic heart disease alone is approximately 4,000 deaths. If the lockdown is continued, it is possible that more people will die from neglected treatment of other diseases than from Covid-19 itself.

The lockdown encourages mismanagement of medical services by delaying or eliminating needed care for patients with other conditions that are not specifically Covid-19. It is a wrong and self-defeating policy to count deaths only due to Covid-19 on a day-to-day basis, while ignoring deaths and other malign outcomes from other diseases as a result of lockdowns. The daily death and health incidence data should be published for all causes and not just Covid-19, to put things into perspective.

Publicising only reported Covid-19 cases and deaths is a form of misinformation, inducing fear in the population, including in the medical community. The reported case counts present a false picture of the epidemic, greatly underestimating its true spread. In fact, the actual number of cases is tens of times higher if unreported cases are also counted.

Remember, a widespread epidemic is good news, since it implies a low infection fatality rate. So, it is better to recognise and publicise the vast number of cases that recover on their own, to rightly project the relative lethality of Covid-19 and address the disproportionate scare from the early days of the epidemic.


Also read: With rising cases, India far from flattening curve but low death rate a silver lining


The approach India should take

In view of the above evidence, a liberalised Swedish approach is the best course for India. This simply means emphasising public education, individual risk-taking and responsibility. The desirable, and, perhaps, unavoidable, outcome will be slow or natural exposure of the not-so-vulnerable segment of the population, while the capacity to handle severe cases is built up.

The more vulnerable (say persons of age 60-plus and with comorbid conditions) should receive special protection, including testing, close monitoring, and perhaps isolation.

The strategy of testing and tracing all asymptomatic or mild cases in order to isolate them will now be impossible, given the widespread nature of the epidemic. Waiting in lockdown for a vaccine is also risky, as the harms from the lockdown multiply. A heroic level of ‘trace, test and isolate’ will only further stigmatise the disease as it has already done, clog institutional capacity, and increase viral load all around, including on the medical personnel and on the asymptomatic or mild cases. This will make institutions hotbeds of avoidable nosocomial viral load (i.e. hospital-acquired infections) and result in more deaths.

By contrast, a decentralised approach involving all levels of primary, secondary and tertiary medical infrastructure, like any other communicable disease, will be more suited to manage the pandemic.

The ‘trace, test and isolate’ doctrine raises significant human rights issues in terms of unequal treatment and freedom of the individual, as the tested asymptomatic or mild patients are forcibly exposed to additional viral loads on not only themselves but all around, leading to more deaths, while those untested (and hence not quarantined), develop natural immunity and live.

To sum up, disease projection models should be updated to account for the serological evidence of widespread disease prevalence and low infection fatality rates. Wherever the revised projection suggests that hospitals will not be overwhelmed, lockdowns must be lifted, boldly and confidently, but with special provisions to protect the vulnerable.

It is important to handle the epidemic as a public health issue and not a disaster or law and order issue. Police forces must be taken off completely, the Disaster Management Act should be lifted, and constitutional liberties fully restored. There must be a transparent disclosure of the widespread nature but very low true mortality of this disease, quite like many other diseases we live with in our day-to-day lives.

Dr Jay Bhattacharya is a professor of medicine at Stanford University, USA.

Sanjiv Agarwal is the founder of the Good Governance India Foundation, Mumbai. The GGIF is launching Rational Health Response to Covid-19, RHRC-19.com, for a collaborative response with medical practitioners in India.

This is an updated version of the letter written to PM Narendra Modi last month in response to his invitation for suggestions for Unlock 2.0.


Also read: Stopping traffic, discipline, ‘braking’ Covid spread — why states are bringing back lockdowns


 

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88 Comments Share Your Views

88 COMMENTS

  1. Great article! Kudos 👍💯

    I have been saying these same points for months and nobody even stops to think for a second.

    For immunity compromised people, they are vulnerable to death/serious illnesses even by a common cold/fever. And deaths are actually the same rate/average as in previous years, if we compare. Just that many other deaths are classified as ‘covid'(icmr circular). And nobody is talking about the inefficiency of ‘testing kits’!

    We can’t disinfect every inch of a place and backtrack every path. These are impractical.

    Also virus can easily spread (already sprd) through essential supplies like milk, vegetables,etc.

    If we are to impose a lockdown, then it should be 100% (absolute), which is impossible.

    Also needy people who urgently require treatment are denied by many hospitals, over this ‘covid’; unnecessary panic.

    Many may have died/lost livelihood directly/indirectly due to illogical lockdowns.

    People are brainwashed and scared the crap out by Media and Govt.s( state and central). Such fear mongering by them should be stopped. The current hysteria/hype/panic is ridiculous!

    Afterall this is the culmination of our lifestyle, habits,etc. What govt should have done is encouraging healthy lifestyle; banning Fastfood, packed foods(not all), pepsi-coke, alcohol, smoking,etc and why not mandating yoga or meditation!?..

    Lets hope people realise and understand these.

  2. Contact tracing may seem logical now but it isn’t, in long run. It leads to mass surveillance and tracking which will encroach into our privacy(leading to a totalitarian state, which isn’t far away!). You won’t realise this now. You would understand this if you read Edward Snowden’s books, articles. This thing is real!!

  3. Covid 19 had proven all experts wrong – from those who were predicting peaks to those who were trying to find correlation with weather. Some humility among experts while writing such articles will do no harm.

  4. I have read with interest the opinion article written by Bhattacharya and Aggarwal. Unfortunately, the article suffers from prescriptive hyperbole and fails to call attention to a number of weaknesses in their own weaknesses, and, strikingly for scientists, also suffers from a curious lack of attention to numbers.

    First, what even if the current pandemic has a death rate of only 0.1% (a matter that has been contested, see below), considering that only a third of the population of India will be infected within a year or two, the total number of people to die of it is estimated to over 400,000 (that is over 4 crores).
    Which natural disaster has killed nearly half a million Indians in living memory? The 2004 tsunami in Sumatra, the most recent natural disaster in living memory in India, killed a total of 228,000 people all over Indonesia and India together. That is about half of the number expected to be dead in India unless measures are taken.

    Second, the number 0.1% as the death rate due to COVID-19 has been disputed. Part of this comes from the denominator, which Drs. Bhattacharya and Aggarwal claim to be 10x more than that which is generally accepted by epidemiologists. The authors’ lower estimate of the death rate of COVID-19 is based on a severely flawed study which has not yet mustered publication through peer reviews but has been criticized publicly on their (a) flawed sampling bias, (b) inadequate technical controls, (c) unacceptably high false positive rates that throws their entire study into question. The Indian serological studies which similarly used a lateral flow kit for detecting antibodies in the blood as did the authors, which, unless shown otherwise, is likely similarly flawed. The flawed results on which the authors base their high estimates of death rate have roundly criticized by scientists and epidemiologists, even by scientists of their own university (Stanford). I suggest caution in accepting the authors’ proclamations because in my opinion their studies and the parallel studies by ICMR are likely to equally flawed unless demonstrated otherwise. In fact, all other field studies suggest that their estimates of COVID-19 death rates are substantial underestimates.

    The true rate of death due to COVID-19 evidently varies substantially by age groups, which is a factor that the authors failed to study and do not mention in this prescriptive opinion piece. The true death rate due to COVID-19 in the US for the 65 years old and above likely is between 2 and 10% at the minimum, and for India, although no data are yet publicly available, one might guess that the rate would be even higher due to the lack of adequate medical facility accessible by most Indian residents. This is even more serious in crowded cities, where the pandemic would have the highest mortality among the elderly age groups. With a conservative death rate of 3% among the elderly (6.8% of the Indian population is above 65 years) and again assuming a 30% infection rate, one can estimate that over 800,000 (8 crores) of the elderly would die in 2 years. That means in nearly every city block in an Indian city, typically with some 400 families per block, there would be at least one death. Is that not a disaster?

    The authors are concerned about the economy, but the economy is for the people only if they survive. As a nation, one must decide what is the acceptable level of loss of life so as to trade against economic loss. Ultimately it is a moral question. By losing 8 crores of the elderly, India stands to lose a generation–that generation which has a historical memory. No nation since the great plagues of the 13th century Europe has lost such a large proportion of its historical memory and managed to survive…perhaps the only nation where such a human disaster occurred was in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime, and its effects are still reverberating through that nation.

    • Don’t worry about losing a generation and therefore historical memory. The Sanghis are interested in fabricating a new narrative, and for that an erasure of memory is needed. They were the freedom fighters and makers of modern India.

    • You seem to confuse lakhs with crores in several places, so you are irrationally and disproportionately scared ten times, to say the least. There are many diseases among us that kill more people than the number you yourself estimate for Covid 19.

  5. I fully agreed, lock down is not the permanent tool for combating the pandemic. Lock down is an interim measure to stop spread till the necessary arrangements are put in place to prevent outbreak. It will be appropriate to establish dedicated hospitals for patients having flue and covid like symptoms and test them, if turned positive treat them in hospital. If we keep the asymptomatic patients in hospitals and go for contract tracing continuously it will affect the whole health care system and the death rate will increase which will create fear psychosis among the people and patients may not prefer to go hospitals as they cannot get proper treatment in the hospitals due to lack of care which they were getting earlier and such home deaths will increase. The best way is to create adequate covid related health infrastructure, treat symptomatic confirmed patients in hospitals, stop contract tracing, advice the symptomatic patients for home quarantine and keep them under surveilance , if symptoms reported to any one, shift the patient to hospitals. Wide publicity be given through local media channels and social networking sites about the details of asymptomatic patients so that people living in the vicinity will be aware about such persons and take precautions till they turn negative. Further. Govt should keep the comorbidity patients under surveilance. Instead of wasting huge amount in spraying it will be appropriate to give masks/ sanitizors to the people free of cost through PDS per head /per family.

  6. I knew you media people are uplifting this covid19. Which was already there in our environment but invented later for some business and environmental purposes and everyone are going to have this virus and can heal too with previous version of corana vaccine or pneumonia vaccine or common flu medication . only pveople who are already sick with lungs are always in dangerous condition when any seasonal flu starts. why such big hunhgama spreaded all because of media. Earlier Ebola, H1N1, swine flu, and many came but never spreaded the news as a disaster.

  7. The procedures adopted by the government is acceptable because they have implemented on recommendations of the experts in medicine in India & abroad.
    So don’t blame on what has been done,now think what best we can adopt to eliminate or control covid cases other than what has been done .
    Arguments are not for solution so think positive by the experts in management of pandemic.
    Let’s hope for the best.

  8. The authorities have no control over lockdown.Peoples are not obliged.
    Let us lift the lockdown with stringent penalty for violation of rules.
    Aged people may be isolated from coming outside their residence except for medical treatment.Before lifting lockdown , guidance or helping hand may be given by the authorities to improve the individual’s immunity.

  9. I agree with you at some point.
    My father is covid positive , he has very mild infection in his body. Right now he is currently with the authorities among people who are more exposed to the infection than him, it is very risky for him.
    May be by self treatment it would have been easier for him recover.
    We all are quarantine also and right now indirectly we are also being exposed to infevtion even though we are okay.

  10. Yeah toh samaj mai aata tha ki The print wale leftist hai…Par gadhe aur unpadh hai aaj pata chala…Thoda tata namak kha ke article likha karo…

  11. From the very beginning our approach towards covid 19 pandemic has been disastrous and faulty. Surprisingly the pandemic has been highly commercialized for no known reasons. The interest and reason needs to be investigated thoroughly. Symptomatic approach as has been in practice for treatment of other ailments are not being availed for covid treatment. Instead conclusions are drawn on the ingress of the pandemic. In fact the entire medical/research fraternity is frightened and is wandering in the darkness. General public are being psychologically drained and made to hide in fear psychosis. The entire socio-economic environment is put to a standstill putting the entire human race into a steam-sterilised bottle with little option for free breathing not to mention walking or talking. How much can we survive and how long?

  12. Lock down is a baseless system which disrupted everything economiccal life without giving any relief to human. So lifting of lock down need instantly

  13. The article reeks of confirmation bias – while I’m personally against the lockdown, I did not find this article helpful in any way. It does not seem to have the scientific rigor required of researchers. Like everything else these days there is more politics mixed into the narrative than an unbiased scientific report with supporting facts.

  14. What amazes me is all the expatriate Indians residing abroad in Ivory Towers giving advice and passing judgements on governance in India- Raghuram Rajan, Amartya Sen, Abhijeet Bannerjee and their ilk including the author of this article without active grassroots experience in India.

    Can the author please explain how to manage people dying like flies everywhere every day in thousands and not all of them being in the nonproductive category -that is over 65 years old, with disabling comorbidities etc . Quite a few dead were young health care professionals, law enforcement officials and front line COVID-19 workers. Had there been no lockdown the number of deaths due to COVID-19 would have been astronomical, the health care system would have been paralysed (It is nearly so now), and the economy and industry would have ground to a halt just the same.

    This pandemic is an unprecedented event due to a completely novel pathogen and doctors are learning along the way how to handle 1.34 billion people with less than ideal education and literacy levels, in a developing nation, a wrong move could have cataclysmic consequences. The doctors do not have the luxury of being ensconced in ivory towers and statistical modelling and ample time at their disposal, without the grassroots knowledge of the slums in India, the fluctuating population densities, the migrant labourers, the lack of basic amenities, literacy levels. Bean counters and number crunchers with their pie charts and projections cannot deal with living humans. Eventually we will develop herd immunity and beat the pandemic, we have done it in the past Black Death, Spanish Flu etc and we will do it now. What’s more we have learnt along the way.

  15. Iam going through lot of articles and news views as media reports, covid is a viral pandamic with around 6 lakhs deads approx in 6 months of its manufacturing by whom its not known, the world graph, shows as USA has one ranked brasil second and India third, the population of China was the first reported case of covid in yuwan, i should imagine china should have been number one, but shocking !
    Confirmed cases 85,921 Recovered
    80,519 Deaths 4,653 till today july 2020
    it look like a joke, or data is wrong ? China selling ppe kits, infra termal scanners, plastic face shields, face mask, sanatisers to the world and doing good economic benifts, how did this pandamic spread what was the mode of its transportation of covid, why so many deads not answerable by USA, no moral respondibility by any authority, no answer, even Google doesnt have any answer for covid pandamic spread, what mode it reached the whole world
    One article out of manu from unicef data revealed and quote, i got stunned, And more we tend to divert, our direction from other major problems, economy, jobless data, poverty, cancer, hiv, rape kidnapping murder, our minds are diverted to many direction
    Child Malnutrion
    India reported the most number of deaths of children below five years in 2018, with 8,82,000 deaths, the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, said in a report released on Wednesday. The report, titled “State of the World’s Children 2019”, came a day after the Global Hunger Index placed India at the 102nd rank in the “serious” category.
    MALNUTRICIAN IN CHILDREN WORLD DATA
    After India, Nigeria reported the highest number of such deaths (8,66,000), followed by Pakistan (4,09,000), Democratic Republic of Congo (2,96,000), and Ethiopia (1,91,000). The median under-five mortality rate for every 1,000 live births in India is 37, the report pointed out. It is 120 in Nigeria, 69 in Pakistan, in DR Congo it is 88 and 55 in Ethiopia.
    RAPE
    According to the NCRB data, 4,15,786 rape cases were reported across India between 2001 and 2017. On average, 67 women were raped every day across the country during these 17 years, or, in other words, about three women had been raped every hour
    CANCER
    India. According to the National Cancer Registry Programme of the India Council of Medical Research (ICMR), more than 1300 Indians die every day due to cancer. Between 2012 and 2014, the mortality rate due to cancer increased by approximately 6%. In 2012, there were 478,180 deaths out of 2,934,314 cases reported.
    WE HAVE TO LIVE WITH COVID, STRICTLY, MAINTAIN AND RESPECT SOCIAL DISTANCING, FACE MASK, SELF HYGINE

  16. I’m from the U.K., and looking to see what’s happening globally. A search for “COVID-19” articles in the last hour found the above piece.

    To say I’m aghast is an understatement.

    India has had, approximately and officially, about 1.4 million cases, and suffered abour 32,000 deaths. The current population is about 1.4 billion.

    Assume that 60% of people will catch the virus, if no lockdown is made anywhere. The easy to work out sum is:

    1,400,000,000 / 1,400,000 x 32,000 deaths, which is 32,000,000 dead. Yes, of course one can argue there may be fewer; however, one could equally argue there may be more. Nore, the stark figure of “deaths” does NOT include the large number of people who will also be permanently disabled, e.g. by lung, heart or brain damage.

    From an outside perspective, it seems lockdown may not be possible everywhere, but in some places it will be, and should happen. Other things that should happen is limiting travel, maintaining physical distancing, using masks or face coverings, and people with symptoms trying not to infect others. Some of these things have been used all over the world in previous outbreaks of disease.

    I am appalled by some of the statements above, which seem to have no basis in reality. If anyone is interested in figures, I suggest visiting “worldometers” and looking at coronavirus figures and graphs for India and other places.

    I really do wish you all well, but ideas as espoused in the above article are I think dangerous and counterproductive, and I think are irresponsible – I am being polite.

    Good luck. Really.

    • Have you even bothered to read the article? It says that number of cases underestimates the number infected by a factor of ten. So at 0.1% infected fatality rate we will have 1.4 million fatalities and not 32 million. I still agree that the crumbling health system will collapse if they open public transport. The stanford phd idiot author doesn’t understand that sweden’s example didn’t work for sweden with so many fatalities in old age homes and will definitely not work in india where a majority of the old people live with their children. Not only did sweden have more deaths, their economy is also in the dumps. So what did they gain mr stanford phd?

      • Arvind, thank you for correcting Reginald’s calculation mistake. However, your attack may be unjustified if you consider that we are not advocating for going back in time and doing what Sweden did! We are just saying after 3 months of strict lockdowns we have enough learnings to tropicalise that model and deliberately go for building immunity in the healthy population as is already happening large scale as per sero-surveys. At such a high level of prevalence attempt to stamp the virus out will be futile and will lead to sporadic lockdowns, killing more people due to disruptions.

  17. I’m curious as to why you beleueve that widespread tracing program cannot be implemented, specifically if the tracing can be done using automated mobile phone applications. The entire argument about why tracing is not possible seems to be centered around the assumption that tracing must be done manually and there aren’t enough people to work as contact racers. Contact racing apps similar to the one used by Singapore and many Asian countries can solve a lot of these problems and help tremendously in stopping the spread of the virus. Isn’t it better to trace the asymptomatic and caution people as opposed to simply locking people in their homes?

  18. Really? Sitting in Timbuktoo and researching on public health in India?
    A loss of a family member is not a number or digitalized data..it is a PERSON we are talking about!
    Also, think before you speak..isolate 60yr olds?? Darn it! Do these people also have familes??

    • Moushumi you are right all deaths count but continued isolation would lead to more deaths not less – that is our argument.

      As for isolating the old and vulnerable do not presume institutional isolation – that we have advocated against all through. In fact after the draft of the actual letter to the PM started circulating Delhi withdrew order banning home isolation and Mumbai started allowing liberal home isolation, reducing pressure on institutions,.

      So when we say “perhaps isolated’ we do not mean forces institutional quarantine, whether they have families or not!

      Perhaps this could be clarified in the article itself, from the hindsight or your reaction.

  19. First of all lockdown was the only way at the beginning by which health care facilities were able to develop to cater large patients. Death rate in India is low due to the healthcare facilities which didn’t existed before lockdown. Look at the death rate of Italy. And secondly if people would be given total freedom now the virus will spread at even more pace. The author indirectly justifies herd immunity which is a totally flawed and failed concept.

  20. Finally some sane voices amidst the rampaging madness of insane approaches. I fully agree with all parts of the article. Kudos to the two authors. Good voices are so few and far in Kaliyuga.

  21. Spoken by pseudo intellectuals,one of whom is based in Stanford, with dubious knowledge of Indian conditions and context. The very fact that the authors of the article refer to it as an epidemic and not a pandemic undermines the credibility of their suggestions straightaway……..it seems professors and journalists these days know more than actual doctors. ..the quest for a vaccine for Covid 19 is such a heuristic process that there is new evidence almost every day which belies our understanding and is sometimes contrary to previously held beliefs.
    In such a scenario, comparisons with Sweden’s method are ludicrous and the utter disregard for covid 19 positive statistics in countries which did not impose lockdown, is conveniently ignored. Sweden has among the world’s highest fatality rates(~6000 deaths in a population of just 1 crore) and the Swedes themselves are deeply divided on the rationale behind not imposing stricter measures at the outset.

    The much vaunted sero test surveys are again based on sample size research and since immunity can’t really be measured, am afraid it may not portray a true picture unlike other demand based surveys that can be generalized to the entire populace.

    The bottomline is no one in their right mind can claim with absolutely certainty about the “right” course of action that needs to be undertaken henceforth…viewing things in hindsight might offer some perspective but again it might be irrelevant in the days to come…so it might be prudent to stay sensible, wear a mask and just act with common sense, which in today’s times is pretty uncommon!

  22. Lockdown can never be a solution to eradicate this virus.The past experiment has shown that it’s not the correct solution as the cases are going on increasing only in all the states including our country as a whole dispite the strict lockdown The solution for this is only in educating the public in fallowing the mandatory preventive measures like wearing of masks and maintaining social distance

  23. Correct lockdown is no alternative now.it has spread extensively only self precautions of every citizen is must every citizen of india should follow the rules proper distancing proper masking and frequent hand wash this is all for self protection and above all for others protection.

  24. Who is writing these stupid articles??
    That’s why journalists should not intervene in the job of medical professionals.

    Lift the lockdown then who will take care of the sudden onslaught of patients in hospital.

    Do you think your country has enough hospitals for its big population.?

    Don’t write stupid articles just for the ske of writing, there are better and more qualified people than you taking care of this issue… .

    • Dr Jayanata Bhattacharya is very much a medical professional, an MD (and PhD), professor of medicine in one of the top universities in the world!

  25. Lockdown for an indefinite period is not the solution to control or eradicate this disease.It has already been tried and found to be not effective in reducing the count of this disease.It is going on increasing only dispite the lockdown.Hence the lockdown should be lifted and instead people should be educated and advised to fallow all the mandatory preventive measures always

    • Sir, Country like India, people will really get educated? The doubt is here that a country with huge population and diversity, there has a few Indians who will implement the guidelines of the Govt.
      Thank you

  26. Whether you call it a health issue or national disaster, the govt’s approach is a national disaster.

    Two months ago, when asked by the press when the curve will reach the peak in India, one government spokesman replied it will never reach a peak in India ! He thought reaching the peak was a negative (he though it meant India is peaking the world in Covid cases), so in his show of vain Hindu bravado, he said it will never peak. In reality too, the curve is going up and up, and India will soon peak the rest of the world !

    A health minister advertises a Covid papad as cure.

    The PM claimed India will have a vaccine by 15 August.

    Earlier, during the balcony clapping episode, the previous president of the Indian Medical Council said clapping induces vibrations and quantum effects that kill the virus !

    Truly, these Hindutva Hindus have gobar filled in their heads. You do not find such people anywhere.

    • Who the hell r u… U r living is Hindustan… U the idiot us calling Hindus gobbar…. What rubbish….and pm has said the we will have vaccine till 15th … Oh Rosogolla whatever.. keep that in mind… And shut ur mouth

      • pm did say we will have vaccine by 15th Aug. …

        He did say that. He withdrew after scientists said it is not feasible.

        Yes, many Hindus are full of gobar. Like the PM. Why are you angry ? You should be proud, no ?

    • Waise who r u Muslim….? Or Christian? Ha i know there are some bewakoof people.. but u can’t say to whole community….
      Sorry for ur language

      • I am in sync with your observations without any ambiguity

        Covid 2019, is just another virus, little more potent, little more fatal but we don’t need a lock down to fight a virus which can be prevented by taking precautions, as simple as wearing a mask & maintaining personal hygiene.

        We are firmly with you in your fight against arbitrary decision of frequent lock down and curfew

        all good wishes…

  27. Those who are struggling to get food everyday will understand it better but those who are earning will not as they are not directly hit. Corona is everywhere now, sooner or later we will get exposed. If it were lethal it would have stopped by now because (according to virology) lethal viruses find their home by killing the host and then they stop. Corona keeps spreading precisely because it is not that fatal. Some severe patients can develop heart or lungs damage but not the mild or asymptomatic ones. U.S predicted 15 lakhs would die but so far around 1.5 lakh have died. At best we can slow it down but unfortunately none can stop it. If we try that more lives will be lost due to hunger rather than corona. In the end, we won’t be able to save people from corona either as it is here to stay & vaccination will take time also. Our media has been spreading fear from the beginning and later govt used them for controlling masses. Manipulating scared people are easy as logic goes astray when someone is scared. India is headed for economic depression and once that happens corona will be a minor issue.

  28. Irresponsible statements made especially for a country like India with second largest population in the world. No sooner the LD is lifted one will see a disaster. During LD Zwe are seeing so many cases and just imagine the situation once the LD is lifted.

  29. Why not try it in his residential country USA with better medical facilities than India… He wants to make India a guinea pig… What an ass****

  30. Well ..whoever suggested this idea maybe he should write on this topic again after his/her family has been wiped out of existence due to the virus. Maybe THEN he should not call it a disaster but a minor eventuality… am I right?
    Don’t write articles mindlessly sitting in your comfy chair ignoring what will happen to the personal lives of people..

  31. Well ..whoever suggested this idea maybe he should write on this topic again after his/her family has been wiped out of existence due to the virus. Maybe THEN he should not call it a disaster but a minor eventuality… am I right?
    Don’t write articles mindlessly sitting in your comfy chair ignoring what will happen to the personal lives of people

  32. This article needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Firstly, the fact that the death figures are highly under-reported is not a secret anymore. The actual death rates is at least 10 times than what is reported. Thus the entire article rests on shoddy assumptions.

  33. Probably the author’s are out of their minds. They haven’t studied much about this pandemic before writing this long long article. Reports as we all know have been altered and not even a single state is showing the actual death count and the number of people infected by virus. So it’s better one should take precaution and follow the rules of lockdown, should not move out of their house unless it’s urgent. Frequent lockdowns is the need of the hour to stop this pandemic because it will be a long time we get vaccines specially in our country where the Richie rich will get it first and the poor have to just suffer.
    So it’s my view that instead of writing such long articles people should dedicate their brains in making some real good medicines/vaccines which will benefit all in the long run.

  34. When policy makers and media are controlled by Gates Foundation, expect more continuous panic mongering and deep economic and social disaster. The Government is spinning this Martial Law as an “opportunity” ! What can you possibly hope for ? More dollars in the pockets of Big Tech and Big pharma ! Mr. Ambani and Mr. Gates aren’t complaining. While kids are shut out of schools and colleges and businesses go bust.

  35. A best COVID 19 article ever. This article indirectly implies the truth and some best solutions.
    Many COVID 19 death are mainly due to hospital intervention and media fear mongering.
    If no COVID 19 publicity happened in india, there won’t be any COVID 19 exists.
    We people of India are basically have better immune power over other western countries because we are Ayurvedic country.
    Only the recent 50-100 years of allopathy system had been devastating our people otherwise we would be much better.
    I’m sure the COVID 19 intense publicity and extended lockdown having some political agenda along World wide.

  36. Very true, LD is totally failure method adopted by the government putting the States to bankruptcy by ways of namesake cure and the economic conditions of the country going into Recessenery stage. Needs to be totally lifted and all should resume as it was prior to LD. As there is no medicine the cure won’t be there,fittest will naturally survive and the feeble will suffer. This is common to any disease and as such equally applicable to carona also, without any exception. Sooner the LD lifted totally faster the economy will recover and life will become normal.

    • When u or ur family get expose to ur carona oh sorry Corona ..then u willl get what is important..
      And ya r u and economist or CA or any other professional..
      If not then don’t put such rubbish
      Mr carona

  37. Even 0.1% of total population is a big number.
    Is it okay to let 0.1% to die?
    Economy can recover in V shaped curve, a dead person cannot.

  38. theprint is most is most useless & waste of time… so where story of theprint appears i clicked on 3 dots & selected “DONT SHOW STORIES FROM THE PRINT”

  39. Don’t the authors need to address, in a response, the basic flaw in their analysis pointed out by readers – their omission of any reference to (or assessment of) the unreported deaths in their computation of the mortality rate? This factual omission undercuts their conclusions, in fact the very premise of their analysis. To recognize this fundamental oversight, and to apologize to readers for thereby misleading them, is also an integral part of responsible journalism.

    As for the “liberalised” Swedish approach that the authors tout, its success or failure is still being hotly debated. What is a fact is that Sweden’s mortality rate, relative to population size, is one of the highest in Europe. In an analysis that tethers itself so strongly to mortality figures, isn’t this fact more relevant than whether the approach was “liberalised” or not?

    • Nrimala, we did increase the fatality rate reported by ICMR 0.08, to 0.1% . Even if you double or treble the IFR (to 0.2% or 0.3% ) , it will be about ten times lower than the Case Fatality Rate that is being reported, and within the IFR of several other diseases among us. That is the thrust of this article.

  40. This kind of lockdown will not improve the condition. I this between 80 to 90 % of Indias are asymptomatic and most of them have got cured and are even not aware of it.

    It’s now the fear which these money minting Hospitals are infusing among the citizen’s. This virus will die it’s natural death.

    In these 5 months of lockdown, do we have any data of how may people have died of depression and suicide, if we get that exact data, it would be more than the deaths through CoVid 19.

    • Ur right… But that covid was new for all of us so… Lockdown was implemented..
      And ya now lockdown is not the only solution..
      But don’t forget…. It’s also a solution…. To curb..
      If u know the data that if lockdown were not implemented, today India can have a more or less 5p lakhs covid cases but it’s not true today. India has 13 lakhs cases were 7 lakhs already got recovered..
      We are not expert that what to do not to do…
      Thank you

  41. So basically he wants to open every thing and wanted to kill indirectly millions of people. And I don’t know how much idea he has about covid, because everything we learn Today is changing so better apply PSM rule… prevention is better than cure.

  42. What crap?! The authors have cited the example of Sweden and overlooked the fact that Sweden has one of the highest death rates in the world due to Covid. Again, if we have to count the unreported cases, why not the unreported death cases due to Covid. The argument in favor of .1 % fatality rate is flawed.

  43. National wide lockdown is absurd but pockets of containment zones where the cases are reported needs to be done.
    Yes, the idea of lockdown is to delay the infection and not prevent it. Delaying is good. We need time to develop an effective vaccine or an antiviral and its important to buy time and stop the spread as much as possible till then.
    DONT TAKE MONEY FROM BIG CORPORATES AND WRITE ABSURD LETTERS LIKE THIS TO OUR PM FROM USA.

  44. How about applying same things on USA and Brazil, will that work?
    Lockdown did helped India to get ready to handle lots of numbers of cases and it is doing its work till now, imagine a building or a small town gets few coviiid cases then lockdown will help govt authorities to trace their contacts and isolating them. That helped at any places to reducing the spread.
    Herd immunity is different topic but lifting all law and regulations will results in leaving the public on their own and in hand of god that can’t be done when you fighting a pandemic.
    A few cases of heart disease and road accidents etc can’t be judged.
    Lockdown also decreased pollution related diseases that you guys didn’t counted and praised.

  45. The Government of India under the leadership of Modiji is the best in this universe. So trust them but feed them with quality material.

  46. I hope Mr. Shekhar Gupta is publishing such articles more out of virtuosity rather than as a way out for his financial crisis. I am sure most of the followers of The Print are prudent enough to gauge this.

  47. If the first bombastic sentence had been omitted, more people would follow on to read the crucial rest of the article

  48. ‘However, the best part is that the number of deaths in India due to Covid-19 infection is quite low relative to the experience of other countries. In the end, Covid-19 infections will have a relatively small effect on India’s annual death count of nearly ten million.’

    Do you know that ? This govt. has been lying and fiddling everything from GDP, the Chinese incursions and Covid. It is a Hindu extremist govt. and fascists generally use force and intimidation and lies to control the narrative.

    The reality is the Covid situation has gone out of their control (barring Kerala), like the economy and the LAC. They have given up trying.

  49. This article assumes two things:
    1. You either die from COVID or you fully recover. There is no such thing as full recovery in this disease. People get many life lasting complications even after they are ‘cured’. Also, if everyone gets the disease at the same time, there won’t be enough beds for everyone.

    2. The reported numbers for deaths are true. If you believe that the number of infections are ten times higher than reported, it should also make sense that the actual number of deaths is much higher.

  50. When you count unreported covid cases that are not fatal, you should also count the unreported fatal covid cases. That would give a broader view. And lifting lockdown would be exposing people to this virus who haven’t been exposed to it before.

  51. Flawed argument to prove low fatality rate . If number of actual cases are higher than reported, number of actual deaths are also higher than reported. You can’t increase the denominator of cases and keep numerator of deaths constant, just to prove that fatality is 0.1% instead of 2.5%

    It took 2 authors to write this article. I wish one of them had questioned this

  52. How does the learned authors explain the mounting death tolls in countries where the virus is spreading unchecked.. The people who lost their lives are just a blip in their charts?

  53. It is a well known fact that LD is not the cure/remedy/alternative/solution to control the ballooning data & also the spread of the pandemic in our country LD is totally a failed concept which has resulted in general public sitting idol for a prolonged time people ruined off their livelihood job losses etc not a single good thing has happened by the LD still states are busy in extending the same to defend their inability to manage the infection spread the days are not far when public anger will be on streets to protest freeness of living being banned/snatched from them

    • You are right but how to make public understand this , all educated have left their brain on rest following lockdown.
      Even if in future this lockdown theory fails will our leader pay the compensation to the public for their economic loss.
      A handful group of these do called politicians are derailing national economy.

    • You are right but how to make public understand this , all educated have left their brain on rest following lockdown.
      Even if in future this lockdown theory fails will our leader pay the compensation to the public for their economic loss.
      A handful group of these do called politicians are derailing national economy.

  54. The article is written with a mixed bag of science and unproven anecdotal knowledge. Please publish articles more responsibly.

    • How about applying same things on USA and Brazil, will that work?
      Lockdown did helped India to get ready to handle lots of numbers of cases and it is doing its work till now, imagine a building or a small town gets few coviiid cases then lockdown will help govt authorities to trace their contacts and isolating them. That helped at any places to reducing the spread.

    • What an idiotic news…the person who write this may be a healthy one…..if we allow the people to move freely,there will be a huge disaster ..because the virus affects in people very differently,means we can’t imagine that what will happen..may a healthy person will die immediately…may an unhealthy person survive easily….we are unaware of the aftereffects of this virus in our body even it is negative..some research shows that there is a high risk of brain,neuro related disease as an aftereffect…..we people don’t ready to take such a risk now….and this article said that the mortality rate is very low…all deaths related to covid is not truly reported by some institutions,it’s a fact….also the survivors shows other negative symptoms after the survival from covid-19…..the first priority should be try hard and keep safe ourselves from the pandemic & the best way to refrain from Corona is lockdown for some time…at first phase India managed well to keep away from Corona because of lockdown….I think there is no substantial fact to support your article,so pls publish articles very responsibly….

    • It’s not an eye opener brother. Rather this article is saying we cannot do anything, open lockdowns and let more people die, after all India’s population is so hugh it doesn’t matter.
      Why this author preaches us such things while sitting in foreign universities?
      If he wants to do something please come back to India and do something good here.

  55. ‘A Liberalised Swedish Approach is the best course for India. This simply means emphasizing public education individual risk taking and responsibility” say the authors..With the kind of Demographic profile we have in India are the authors out of their mind ? Setting western standards to do not fit Indian conditions .

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