Lock or Unlock, no larger gatherings for 6 months; please! (By Dr Oscar Rebello)

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
08 April 2020 17:17 IST

Two, perhaps even almost four weeks down the road, (if you consider the Tablighi fiasco started early March) — can we press the cautiously optimistic button on the COVID 19 crisis in India ??

I do not know, but the terror, for the moment has abated a wee bit.

The aircraft all ablaze and hurtling down at a terrifying speed has stabilised somewhat and is cruising along.

What have been our scientific observations, as the crisis unfolds.

1. The epidemic is still raging in the USA and parts of Europe and Iran, the death toll staggering, economies crumbling and now even the middle aged being felled , not just the elderly. In America. There is simply no light at the end of the tunnel. They did spot an orange glow, but it turned out to be Trump’s hair.

BCG VACCINE OUR PROTECTIVE COVER

2. There is a discernible benefit of the universal BCG vaccination programme the world over.
All countries, India included (BCG since 1949), who have had a BCG vaccination programme are seeing fewer fatalities.

America, Canada, Spain France and even Iran (which started its programme only in 1984) all abandoned the universal vaccination since no TB was detected in these countries for decades.

Africa, the erstwhile USSR, Asia, Latin America were perhaps spared from the death squad due to BCG vaccination programmes.

Lucky Joes??? We don't know yet but cautious optimism.

Ok fun fact: Guess which is the only country that never ever vaccinated a single citizen in its entire medical history? You got it: ITALY!!!

3. Herd immunity: There is no way all of us on the planet are going to escape this virus.
We will get it for certain.

But do we get it as a slow burn?

Does it spread subclinically or ASYMPTOMATICALLY?

Do we have cross immunity against COVID due to the myriad bugs we are constantly infected with, some politicians and news anchors included?

Once 60 to 70% of the population are infected and antibodies generated, the virus goes on to become just another virus.

The key motivation and goal of this Lockdown is to prevent the FATAL AND LETHAL CASES developing, so as not to overwhelm the health-care system.

Hence love Modi or hate Modi, you can't fault this one historic decision of shutting the country down in one fell swoop.

Nothing less would have worked!

BACK TO NORMAL?

4. Early days but if this trend continues and we do not see pneumonias and ARDS choking ventilators in the next couple of weeks, we may, just may, have dodged the bullet.

So maybe when all the data is in, the country May well re-open.

But there should be one non-negotiable once we get back on our feet.

Besides hygiene and social distancing, which will now have to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future, once we get back to our factories and farms, there is one crack-down that must necessarily continue:  NO LARGE GATHERINGS FOR AT LEAST 6 MONTHS.

No mass religious congregations absolutely. Reach out to followers at home by using tech.
No political gatherings where the hordes accumulate. Automatically this will translate into less hate speeches, less vitriol, less untruths, less noise.

Think of the benefits to our mental health. No Sunburn, no rock concerts, no mass stadia sports.

We can't afford it for now. Babu Azgaokar will lose money but he has promised to sacrifice in the national interest.

This crisis is far from over folks. The treacherous virus is still out there and you never know when it could strike again and in what form.

We need to focus on our economy for certain once the cloud lifts.

But we should never lose sight of the lessons we learnt from this crisis. Of compassion, of solidarity, of service (our health care and sanitation workers), of fortitude.

If we truly cling to those lessons, overcoming the economic shock should be a piece of cake.
Defeating the virus will be an eventual reality.

Defeating our inner demons???

Well I'm not betting on it. I'm just cautiously optimistic.

Hence, the only solution, as the WHO recommends is TESTING, TESTING & TESTING... we need to adopt it aggressively…

 

 

 

 

Blogger's Profile

Dr Oscar Rebelo

Dr Oscar Rebelo is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

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Previous Comments

Beautifully written doc.thanks for the advise.

- Derek vaze, alto porvorim | 09 th April 2020 05:43

 

Spot on.

- Maria Fatima Paus, New Delhi | 09 th April 2020 03:58

 

Well done..

- Christabelle barreto, Mumbai..maharashtra ..india | 09 th April 2020 03:50

 

Very lucidly articulated Dr Oscar Rebello. ‘Cautiously optimistic ‘ is the way to go In the near future. . Dealing with our inner demons is the need of the hour to get our economy back in shape after the lock down is over. Kudos to you for reiterating that we need to make cleanliness & good hygiene a way of life. The ‘new normal’ after we overcome this situation, should be a result of what the virus has taught us, namely humility, gratitude, frugality and importance of family bonds.

- Anshu Sinha, Panjim | 08 th April 2020 19:57

 

You are my Hero.You got me out of a bad health situation,now I'm able to be indoors near my Organic vegetable farm.Thank God for having you the day I was brought to Campal Clinic.God Bless.

- Vincent Condillac, Quitula,Aldona | 08 th April 2020 17:47

 

Well said and written and absolutely true ufpx

- Leo Cordeiro , Porvorim kadamba Depot road | 08 th April 2020 17:03

 

Well written but there is one point - six months from when? Today, the day the curve drops or from when the covid deaths reduce to a miniscule number? Even ICMR states that one infected person can infect 406 others. Imagine the geometric progression of the disease through one infected person at a well attended wedding.

- N braganca, Panaji | 08 th April 2020 17:02

 

Well written but there is one point - six months from when? Today, the day the curve drops or from when the vivid deaths reduce to a miniscule number? Even ICMR states that one infected person can infect 406 others. Imagine the geometric progression of the disease through one infected person at a well attended wedding.

- N braganca, Panaji | 08 th April 2020 17:01

 

We thank Dr.Oscar for enlightening us.Doctor has been sent by GOD,to help us.

May God bless you,doctor for all your efforts.

- Maria j de sousa, Bairro sallas | 08 th April 2020 14:39

 

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