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Out of the box idea to confront Coronavirus crisis in India

3 min read
Bhamy V Shenoy
Mysuru: Everyone is expecting that India will see an exponential spread of Covid-19 as has happened in other countries soon. Since India has been more aggressive than Italy and Spain, some claim that we may not have the pandemic situation faced by them. 
However there are others who have a different opinion. They agree that it may not be as bad as Italy and Spain, but it will be far worse than in other smaller countries like South Korea, Hong kong, and Singapore. It is absolutely clear that no one has the faintest idea about the extent of spread. 
Still the fact is that despite the first few cases were detected as early as early February, as of March 27, we had only 814 infected cases and 20 deaths. By any standard this is an unbelievable occurrence even if we assume that India may be underestimating. 
Let us assume that we are underestimating by a shocking level of 500%. Even then for a country of 1.4 billion with extremely high density and congested slums such a low figure should be a pleasant surprise as well as comforting thought. Still Modi took the bold step of announcing a total lock down for 21 days from March 24 which has been welcomed by all. 
Is it possible that Corona virus has actually infected more Indians than we know, but only an insignificant percentage has been affected to seek medical help.  If this scenario is true then we should try to find out the true picture. 
To facilitate a thought process, let us think of a possible scenario for Indian conditions. A foreign traveller who is positive and does not know her condition comes to India. She is not asked to quarantine which has happened often. This person starts to get symptoms and goes to a clinic. There the doctor fails to diagnose it as Corona Virus. After a few days she comes back again with all the symptoms of Covid-19. Now the doctor succeeds in diagnosing the problem. During this time she might have spread the virus without her knowledge in the locality where she stays. 
There must be many such cases all over India. Still even after the initial incubation period of 14 days (such infected travelers must have come in hundreds to India since the beginning of February) how is it possible that India has so few infected cases? It is not the case in several European countries, mostly in Italy, Spain, and France. Even in other countries there are infected people in thousands. 
We can easily resolve this mystery if we take a scientific study that I am suggesting.  We should go to one or two areas where the infected travellers might have gone about 30 days back or localities which are known to have infected people. 
There we should  randomly select 100 persons and conduct tests for infection. If we find that more than say 30% or 50% are positive, then we can conclude that Indians have high immunity. If on the other hand, we find an extremely low percentage of infection we cannot make any conclusion. I want to readily submit that my suggested number of 30% to 50% is just a hunch and experts may be able to suggest better numbers.
If we find out that the infection rate is 30% or more,  then we can consider relaxing complete lock down quickly. This will help millions of people and reduce sufferings of poor. There must be   crores of daily wage earners, small merchants, old people and other countless people with many unusual problems who are suffering because of the lock down.
The cost of conducting a scientific survey is nothing in comparison to the savings and benefits to India. The big question is how can we convince the decision makers to carry out this out of the box idea?
– Team Mysoorunews

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