Current Covid-19 situation and next few months- what to expect?

A lot has changed in India's Corona Virus situation in past one month. This post shares my thoughts on things that are going on and what to expect in near future. I am not an expert in these matters, just using my own assessment, judgment and a bit of guess work. Use your discretion.

Current situation:
India has climbed from 10+ position a month ago, to world #4 in total number of cases as well as active number of cases. We are only behind USA, Brazil and Russia. While these countries have much lesser population and much larger land (surface area) than India, we have 140 crore people. So situation is not looking good for us.

But our recovery rate is good?
Recovery rate looks good because of modified discharge policy. Had it been as strict as it was in March much more people would still be in hospitals.
  • March: 15 days in isolation ward & two consecutive -ve tests required
  • April: 10 days without symptoms enough
  • May: Those spending 3 days without symptoms can be released
  • June: -------- TBD -----------
  • July: Just give a mask and send them home ?
But our death per million rate is low!
Yes. We can take solace in whatever data gives us comfort. But we need to manage the crisis, not numbers. Most states are liming testing, under reporting deaths and medical infrastructure is stressed- so there's no way we can breath easy yet.

Where will this lead us?
As of now we've 3.3 lakh cases and doubling nearly 15 days. At this rate projection is as below
  • By June 30: 6-7 lakhs
  • By July 31: 24-28 lakhs
  • By Aug 31: 1-1.1 crore
  • By Sep 30: 4-4.4 crore
  • By Oct 31: 16-17.6 crores
  • By Nov 30: 64-70 crores
  • By Dec 15: 140 crores
At this point there will be no one left to infect. Hopefully we will develop herd immunity and corona virus will vanish from India as there're no more hosts. There will be lots of inevitable deaths and those who survive should be able to resume normal life from Jan 2021, assuming there's no second wave and those who got infected once and survived will survive future infections if any.

Above is just based on maths. Ground reality may worsen or be better depending on how careful people are, what measures Govt takes and a bit of luck/unluck. We don't have capacity to test crores of people every month, so there will be many infected but not yet tested and officially counted.

So where does this leave us? What to do?
First priority is to stay alive, avoid getting infected. Do whatever it takes.
If your employer is forcing you to work against your comfort without providing adequate preparations and they won't cover your hospital expenses in case you test positive, you might want to think of quitting. One week of hospitalization can wipe out lifetime savings of a middle class family, with no guarantee of survival and no hope of earning that money back in near future.

If you can move to a less infected area, do so. Yes there's a risk of carrying infection to villages, so you need to take precautions and home quarantine for 14 days before moving around. Villages have more space, so maintaining distance is easier. Movements are being allowed since April (with Pass, Sharamik trains, those walking on foot etc) and still big cities remain the hotspots. I feel if anyone wants to go to village from big city Govt should test them and if negative allow to travel. (right now people are traveling without a test and are often tested after reaching destination) This will de-congest city and help contain the virus.

The economy vs pandemic debate
While another extension of lockdown would have helped, Govts are caught between revenue vs health crisis. Airlines would have shut shop and declared bankruptcy if not allowed to fly for few more months. State governments badly need revenue from Alcohol sales so decisions were taken to open shops. Other relaxations were also facilitated primarily because Govt wants tax from commercial activities, not because it is safe to open economy. It is true that without income a lot more will die of hunger than the virus, so Govt has taken a calculated risk. It will appear wrong to those who have steady income and can work from home forever but others will be happy they can go out and earn. Despite court suggestions Govts are not keen to reinforce strict lockdowns.

Because this is one of its kind situation it is lot easier to comment what should have been done differently 2-3 months ago. 

Let us see how next few months will pan out.

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