A three-week lockdown to contain the rising cases of the deadly coronavirus and combat the COVID-19 is insufficient, according to a recent study by experts. The coronavirus continues to infect people globally even as leaders across the world are implementing measures to contain the rapid-growing outbreak. Till 4.45 pm (IST) the COVID-19 positive cases has crossed 6 lakh and killed over 28,000 globally.
A research report, by the Institute of Mathematical Science Chennai and the University of Cambridge, clarifies that sustained periods of lockdown with periodic relaxation will reduce the number of cases to levels where individualised social contact tracing and quarantine may become feasible.
The study suggests a pattern for the lockdown which should start with a shutdown for 21 days followed by a break of five days. After this, a lockdown for another 28 days should be implemented with another break followed by another lockdown of 14 days. Alternatively, it has also suggested a lockdown period of 49 days in one go.
"Our principal conclusion is that the three-week lockdown will be insufficient. Our model suggests sustained periods of lockdown with periodic relaxation will reduce the number of cases to levels where individualised social contact tracing and quarantine may become feasible, " according to the study.
The study said, "The outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been declared a pandemic by the WHO. The structures of social contact critically determine the spread of the infection and, in the absence of vaccines, the control of these structures through large-scale social distancing measures appears to be the most effective means of mitigation."
It added, "Here we use an age-structured SIR model with social contact matrices obtained from surveys and Bayesian imputation to study the progress of the COVID-19 epidemic in India. The basic reproductive ratio R0 and its time-dependent generalization are computed based on case data, age distribution and social contact structure. The impact of social distancing measures - workplace non-attendance, school closure, lockdown - and their efficacy with duration is then investigated."
"A three-week lockdown is found insufficient to prevent a resurgence and, instead, protocols of sustained lockdown with periodic relaxation are suggested. Forecasts are provided for the reduction in age-structured morbidity and mortality as a result of these measures. Our study underlines the importance of age and social contact structures in assessing the country-specific impact of mitigatory social distancing," added the research.