With Coronavirus on the rampage and government ordered lockdown in place, many people are feeling disturbed. They complain incessantly about the inconvenience. To them I would say, "Nothing can be more inconvenient than death".
Here are some sobering facts about COVID-19 Coronavirus's trail of destruction that, at the time of writing this article.
Here are the global figures, (India's figures in brackets) on the impact so far.
Numbers of infections are doubling every week.
If the disease remains unchecked and if there is widespread person to person contact, then theoretically speaking, at this rate barring those who exist in isolation the entire world's population will be infected within 14 weeks. Hence tackling the pandemic is both of utmost urgency and criticality.
Many people will be slightly or even completely unaware that they have been infected. They will at worse, experience some mild discomfort and go on with their normal lives.
Many will fall seriously sick particularly if they are elderly (above 60 years of age, have heart, diabetes, kidney problems, suffering from cancer etc, will need hospitalisation and advanced care.
While rate of infections double every seven days the rate of deaths are doubling every 5 days.
After about 4 weeks of treatment within intensive care units, 266, 467 were closed. 80% of these patients recovered and 20% died.
There are currently 751,101 active cases (75% of infected people but still under treatment). There fate is uncertain
If you were the leader of you country what would you do, to protect your people and your economy? It is all fine and wonderful to be optimistic, and one should hope for the the best, but its essential to plan for the worst. What then could be the bad case and worst case for India? Population = 1,300 million,
Estimation of people needing hospitalisation and serious medical attention = 520 million (40%)
Estimated time for disease to impact entire population = 40 weeks
Time in isolation and treatment for a typical patient = 6 weeks
Just to cope with COVID-19 Coronavirus, India as per some estimates would need an additional,
1.2 million nurses and attendants
4 million hospital beds
8,000 funeral incinerators for burning, corpses working non stop day and night.
Immeasurable quantities of x ray and MRI, machines, vast stocks of medicines, medical supplies, etc.
This the government is trying its best to arrange, and mobilise. They need as much time and resources, we the people can afford to give them. Social distancing is one of the best ways to achieve that objective.
As we are doing now, all aspects of society and government working together, by uniting as one people, so that we can save the population.
Even if all the people receive some decent medical attention, so severe are the effects of COVID-19 Coronavirus, it is estimated that 5% or 28 million of our Indian brothers and sisters may not survive.
If we do not practice social distancing and flatten the curve, then the requirement of doctors, ventilators, hospital beds will be 5 to 8 times more. Which under the present circumstance is impossible to arrange these resources. We will not be able to contain the high rate of fatalities due to which In that case could be as high as 15% of the infected or 74 million people simply from COVID-19 Coronavirus related health complications.
Visualise if you will for a moment. People will be collapsing in the streets with no one willing to touch them. Their bodies simply rotting on the streets and homes and workplaces, attracting stray animals. From this will arise other epidemics like cholera, etc arising out of unhealthy air and contaminated water supply sources. In that case the count could reach as high as 100 million dead, not only from COVID-19 Coronavirus but also from associated infectious diseases and complications. In such an eventuality society will be completely disrupted, there could be rioting, mass scale looting, thuggery, robberies, rapes, etc.
As a civilisation are we prepared for this eventuality?
The above simulation provides a clear understanding of how social distancing will reduce infections and deaths.
"Normal" (left, 200 people moving freely) and "Distanced" (right, 25 people moving freely).
Green = Healthy, uninfected individuals Red = Infected individuals Blue = Recovered individual Black = Dead individuals
As yet there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 Coronavirus, nor is there any effective treatment. We can only help the infected to fight against the arising complications of pneumonia etc. Basically we are on our own.
It will be foolish to expect the government and doctors or even God to help us, when we are not willing to help and protect ourselves.
Indian people and government together have so far done an amazing job. We might just yet be able to escape a catastrophe, if we remain disciplined. We can learn and implement what Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore have achieved. What Did Italy Do Wrong and Taiwan Do Right? In that case we may be able to escape with only several thousand deaths and mostly those will be people who are already suffering from other serious illnesses.
Considering these facts, if our leaders and our governments and medical experts ask us to practice social distancing, and cooperate with them in a lockdown so as to save us and millions of others, is it asking too much?
I am unable to comment on the global scenario, as events are moving very fast and I have no idea how governments and the people are acting and responding. At this moment under Tedros's leadership WHO's credibility is seriously dented.