[ by Bahauddin Foizee ]
Like the two world wars, the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has adversely affected the entire world. However, unlike the world wars, the enemy in this ongoing war against the COVID-19 is invisible.
The medical experts/practitioners are finding it hard to come up with a medical solution to cure the disease. The strategy for the time-being is, therefore, to contain the spread of the disease (COVID-19) and the virus (CoronaVirus) that causes it.
The World Health Organization (WHO) officials and other experts from around the world have been repeatedly recommending that ‘complete’ lockdown of countries and/or cities — together with testing every suspect, and treating and isolating the confirmed COVID-19 patients — is the only option available to contain the spread of the disease and the virus.
Yet many governments are either sticking to a ‘partial’ lockdown or still waiting for the “right time” to impose a lockdown — contrary to ‘full’ or ‘complete’ lockdown which the experts have been recommending for weeks.
Moreover, the lockdowns should be not only ‘full’ and ‘complete’ but also ‘early’ and ‘immediate’. A government should impose lockdown immediately after finding the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a country. The situations in a number of COVID-19-hit countries — such as Italy and the USA — are ideal examples of what could happen if lockdown is delayed.
Italy is the worst COVID-19-hit country so far. The country’s healthcare system has collapsed. Nothing is working. The waves of bad news continues to come out of Italy every single day. The number of both infected-patients and deaths in Italy has exceeded China.
The USA too is heading in the same direction, with the country’s number of infected-patients exceeding both China and Italy, while the death toll is catching up too. Clearly, Italy and the USA governments have wasted plenty of time before imposing lockdown, allowing the virus to spread within a large portion of the population.
India and the UK too have delayed to impose a complete lockdown. While the UK’s numbers of infected-patients and deaths are accelerating, it is yet to be seen whether the delay would cost India exponential number of casualties. Taking Italy as an example of the adverse impact of a delayed response, it appears that India, the second-most populous country on earth, could be heading towards the same direction as Italy.
Furthermore, many experts believe that those countries that went to holidays instead of full lockdown too could face serious problems. After all, the governments’ delayed- and less-strict-response in these countries have already allowed the virus to spread widely among the population.
On the contrary, the cities/countries that imposed ‘early’ lockdowns have been experiencing lesser cases of COVID-19 infected patients. Take Saudi Arabia for example. The earlier and stricter approach has put Saudi Arabia among the list of countries that are experiencing slower infection rate and lower death toll.
Saudi Arabia have taken several restrictive-measures — including closing down the mosques across the country and banning the worshipers from performing pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca — to contain the spread of the virus. So far these measures have worked well, as the numbers of the COVID-19-related patients and deaths in the country are low.
Therefore, the best option available against the COVID-19 is the full, strict and early lockdown — together with testing suspects, and treating and isolating confirmed cases. Indeed, a virus, which is mutating and is spreading more rapidly by the day, cannot be given time to mutate and spread any further.
If full and stricter restrictions by way of lockdown are not imposed on the entire populations as ‘early’ as possible, the virus will start to spread widely among the healthier young people, who, in contrast to the older people, are comparatively safer from being infected by the virus, supposedly due to their better immune system.
On the contrary, the more time the governments waste in imposing full lockdown, the more people will continue to be infected, of which many thousands could lose their lives.
This article was originally published on Oped Column Syndication.