India must announce curfew in 60 districts starting 12th for 10 days

India added 3500 cases in just one week. There were 1600 cases in total before that

Excluding the Tablighi Jamaat cases, we still added between 2.1k and 2.5k cases in the last one week.

The only good news is, we are plateauing somewhere at around 500 to 700 range. However as Rajesh Kurup points out in his Yoyo analysis here, a little bit of flattening has always tended to disappoint in other countries. In simple words, we are not out of the woods yet.

There isn’t much information available about the occupation of cases but the severe loading towards Men and Younger Population offer us some clues

– Family members of those suffering from COVID but not asymptomatic or late onset of symptoms 

– Population living in Households with limited space and in contact with a current COVID patient (asymptomatic or late onset)

– Workers who are providing essential services thereby coming in touch with large number of personnel

– Healthcare and other Government workers

While many suggest that mass testing is the only solution to asymptomatic cases, it is not an easy solution. Even in symptomatic cases, India is reporting 3% incidence. China says 30% of its cases were asymptomatic which means that India is will get a case incidence of 0.0002% if all 1350 million population are tested. That is sheer insanity by any standards and not pragmatic.

The other issue is workers of essential services. While most Public are at home, those providing essential services are still on the road interacting with each other (with precautions of course) but still there is a risk.

In my view, the only way for India to end this is Stay at home. However, Stay at home is an extremely expensive solution. So how do we optimise this given the current circumstances?

My suggestion 

Identify 50 to 100 districts that are most vulnerable. Give them next 4 days to buy essentials. Impose curfew in these districts for the next 10 days. 100% curfew unless medical emergencies and needs. The advantage of this method is

a. With a lockdown currently on anyway, a full curfew will isolate even those cases that was interacting with outsiders

b. 10 day curfew from 12th would mean actual lockdown extension of only one week instead of current talk of 2-3 weeks

By 22nd, we will have a good fix on where to focus on containment and rest of us can gradually return to work with mandatory mask (with penalties) starting 23rd April.

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