What will happen at the end of 21 day lockdown? 3 Scenarios

As the nation is under a lock-down till mid April, here's a picture of what may happen towards the end of it. While there're some rumors that lock-down is extended and centre has clarified it will not (probably to avoid panic), below are three scenarios that would influence subsequent policy decision.

Scenario 1: Happy Day: Virus is under control: Lockdown can be lifted.
If India manages to flatten the curve- number of new cases all over the country each day drops to near zero then we can all breath easy. At present India is reporting 80-100 new cases each day, with our limited testing. If this rate drops to early march levels (under 5 per day) then we can say we've the Corona Virus situation under control.
Image Souce: Wikipedia

While this is optimistic scenario, probability is very low, because of following reasons
- 1000s of migrant workers who reached their home towns by end of March/April first week and all those others who began taking social distancing very seriously little too late may take up to 2 weeks to show symptoms- so only by mid April we will know if there's a major spike or things are under control. Given the less effective healthcare and transport systems in villages, this testing, contract tracing and isolation will take more time.
- The results we have as of now is of infections that happened 2-3 weeks ago and testing done 3-4 days ago. Results of how it is spreading this week will only be known after 2 weeks.
- Despite the lock-down, there is still some movement- to buy essential goods, to provide essential service etc. So there's still some possibility of more cases coming up towards the end of quarantine
- If we get more testing kits and test more people, daily positive count may go up

Scenario 2: Worst Case: Graph Spikes: Extend Lock-down
If the count of new cases continue to rise by 100s each day, our hospitals will be flooded and govt will be forced to extend the lock down. Let us hope this scenario doesn't arise.

Given that govt has announced some relief for 3 months, many are aware that lock-down may get extended. Govt needs to communicate right but still keeping essential supplies on and keeping restless people inside will be a challenge. No one has unlimited resources- groceries, vegetables and other products need to be grown or manufactured somewhere and then transported- an extended lock-down will put a major stress on supply chain, causing major price hike and possibly law & order problem if people get desperate. Administrations all over the country need to hope for best (Scenario 1) but prepare for worst (scenario 2).

One week into lock-down, prices have already begun to go up. Middle class has limited savings and at some point will start running out of cash. Managing the economics will also be a challenge.

Morale of front line people will also be a major factor for success of extended lock-down. If hospital staff do not have enough personal protective equipment, if lots of medical staff themselves get infected, if front line workers are not paid or face harassment from their landlord/society, if delivery boys and other essential service providers start feeling unsafe and begin fearing for their own life, then administration will have a nightmare scenario to handle.

Scenario 3: Under control in some parts of India: Partial relaxation- Highly likely
This is a more wishful and likely situation. Even after extensive testing if it is proved that certain cities/regions/states do not have Covid-19 positive cases any more, then lock-down can possibly be lifted only in that city/region/state. This will give people some freedom of movement within the safe zones while ensuring no one travels in between a safe and still quarantined zone.

Risk with this approach is enforcement.
  • There will be some people who will escape their risky quarantine zone and enter free zone, reinstating corona virus in that area which will take another 2 weeks to show symptoms. Proper stamping/monitoring/tracking will be needed.
  • Influential people will try to get their area declared safe, even when it is medically not.
  • Essential service personnel also need to be separated. A delivery boy or police person or anyone who visited/working in locked down area should not travel to safe zone.
There is another scenario: Some cure/medicine is found and can give easy relief to affected people. But this is unlikely to happen in next 2 weeks. Medicine needs to be invented, tested, approved, mass produced and supplied to all parts of the world- this will take months.

What's happening around the world? USA has extended stay at home order till end of April. Worldwide there's still no sign of slow down, so it is fair to assume most of April will be spent fighting the Corona Virus worldwide. Mostly India will follow suit. Let us see.

What scenario do you think is most likely by mid April?

Also read: Life lessons from Corona Virus * Life during Corona Virus- Updates from 27 cities around the world

10 comments:

  1. Good analysis. Let's hope for the best. One week has been a pain in the posterior already.

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  2. Thanks for the details analysis.
    Take care.

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  3. Nice one. Considering the situation in our country where migrants are taking their strolls to home by road, religious and social (marriage) gathering happens in most places and irresponsible behaviour by many young people, it would not be a total surprise if we are stuck at scenario 2 at the end of lockdown.

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  4. Hey 1 question u might find silly..
    But here it is ..
    Is there any way that the government would do scenario (1) in case of graph spike a bit higher ?

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    Replies
    1. Too early to say. If the risk doesn't get under control lifting lockdown can be deadly

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    2. Again, I am not the decision making authority- hard to predict how they arrive at a decision.

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  5. Very logically analyzed...hope for something good.

    ReplyDelete

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