Why social distancing measure could stay for much longer than 21 days

The entire world is currently fighting with probably the most significant healthcare crisis ever! There is hardly any need to describe the impact of Covid-19, which has already taken 31,000+ lives and is active in 190+ countries infecting more than seven lakhs people worldwide. The repercussions of it on the economy are also going to be devastating. The global economy is projected to shrink by 7% in 2020 killing many businesses and jobs.  India has started early to take control of this demon by locking down the entire country for 21 days. However, will 21 days be enough?

Rajesh Singh (Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK) and R. Adhikari (The Institute of Mathematical Sciences-HBNI, Chennai, India) have tried to answer this with mathematical models.  Their model shows that prematurely released lockdown can quickly lead to the revival of exponential growth. Even if social distancing measures are relaxed after two lockdowns of 21 and 28 days, infections could still skyrocket. In order to take full control of the spread, a series of lockdowns or an extremely prolonged lockdown is much more effective. Given the insufficient testing in India, meaning a large number of asymptomatic cases not reported yet, this entire calculation could be an underestimation.

Clearly, social distancing measure might stay for a longer period across the globe and in India. Let us all contribute our bit in stopping the spread. Let us all follow social distancing, use facemasks and hand sanitization whenever step out of safety of your house. Stay Safe!

Reference: Age-structured impact of social distancing on the COVID-19 epidemic in India

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