A study has stated that the 21-day lockdown prevalent in India as of now might not prove useful in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus spread. It says that instead, the lockdown must be extended to 49 days. The study comes from researchers Rajesh Singh and R Adhikari based on their mathematical calculations.
Two Indian-origin researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK say that their work is the first of its kind to include "age and social contact structure of the Indian population" in order to assess the impact of social distancing on the COVID-19 pandemic.
There has been debate on whether the 21-day lockdown is enough to contain the spread of coronavirus in India and whether it needs to be extended. The Govt, however, had clarified at the beginning of the week that it has no immediate plans of extending the lockdown.
A possible rise in cases
The researchers in their study found out that the 21-day period led to an immediate decrease in the number of infected people but as the curbs are lifted; there will be a steep rise in the number of cases.
A second scenario in which a 28-day lockdown was imposed after five days of easing also showed that the number of infected people rose once the second lockdown was lifted.
The researchers said, "Our principal conclusion is that the three-week lockdown will be insufficient. Our model suggests sustained periods of lockdown with periodic relaxation will reduce the number of cases to levels where individualized social contact tracing and quarantine may become feasible."
The paper is yet to be reviewed and is titled 'Age-structured impact of social distancing on the COVID-19 epidemic in India' and has been published on open-access preprint repository ArXiv.
Various aspects of lockdown like school and college closure, workplace non-attendance, and their efficacy with duration have been investigated in the study.
Both asymptomatic and symptomatic infectives have been taken into consideration.
Despite lockdown; countries see cases rise
According to the authors, due to insufficient data on the number of asymptomatic cases, they have chosen to set these to zero. This provides a lower bound on the number of morbidities and mortalities and the intensity and duration of the social distancing measures that are required for mitigation.
It should be noted that many countries are under lockdown and yet we are seeing a rise in the number of cases of coronavirus and reported deaths forcing Governments to contemplate the next step.