After Kannada TV channels air fake news, TAC says no such recommendation was made to govt
Noted epidemiologist Dr Giridhara Babu pushes for 3 A’s: Acknowledge second wave; Adopt revised crowd control strategy; Accelerate containment, vaccination
Following unsubstantiated news of an impending lockdown in Bengaluru by some Kannada TV channels, which created considerable panic among citizens, the state’s Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 was forced to clarify that no such recommendation had been made to the state government.
On Sunday afternoon, some Kannada news channels stated that the TAC had recommended a lockdown in Bengaluru. Dr Giridhara Babu, Professor and Head, Life Course Epidemiology, at Public Health Foundation of India and a member of the TAC, promptly rebutted the fake news.
In fact, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar shot down a query by some vernacular mediapersons on an impending lockdown in the city, saying no such recommendation had been put before the government. “It won’t be appropriate to comment when nothing is concrete. Let the government receive a proposal on paper, which will then be discussed with the CM,” Sudhakar said.
When TheBengaluruLive contacted Dr Giridhara Babu, he denied making any such recommendation to the Health Minister. “The TAC has not made any recommendation to the state government on a lockdown. We do not support a lockdown; instead we have recommend not curbing the economy,” Dr Babu said. However, the TAC had recommended strict implementation of Section 144 of the CrPC to curb large gatherings which turn into super-spreaders, he said.
Predictions go haywire
Earlier, Dr Babu had noted that with predictions of Bengaluru seeing 6,500 Covid-positive cases by around April 20 cast to the wind as the city had already recorded around that figure on April 9, the latest projections suggested that Bengaluru could witness a whopping 20,000 positive cases by May 1 and, worse, around 35,000 cases by May 15.
Read Here: Bengaluru could see 20,000 daily Covid cases by May 1 https://thebengalurulive.com/bengaluru-could-see-20000-daily-covid-cases-by-may-1/
He had said the virus had achieved its ‘target’ well in advance of predictions. Going by the current speed of transmission, by May 1 Bengaluru could see 16,000 to 20,000 positive cases and by May 15 the number could go up to 35,000 cases.
As per mathematical projections, if even 10% of an assumed 20,000 daily cases require hospitalisation, Bengaluru may require around 2,000 beds on a daily basis in hospitals, and if it continued, the entire hospital system would collapse, he had warned.
“As a technical advisory committee, our aim is to bring all these issues to the notice of people and the government without creating panic. No one wants a lockdown, but if we do not want to follow any kind of restrictions on our own, we won’t be able to control the surge in Covid cases,” Dr Babu had said.
3 A’s can prevent lockdown
Meanwhile, sharing his latest comments on the situation with TheBengaluruLive, Dr Babu says India needs the 3 C’s: Coverage of vaccines, Containment efforts to limit the spread, and Continued genetic sequencing. But many states have faltered on all three fronts.
Dr Babu says that three A’s are also vital, and if they integrated and comprehensively scaled up, the country won’t need a lockdown.
According to him, the three A’s are: Acknowledge that the second wave is real; Adopt a revised control strategy with strict prevention of crowds of all sorts in every possible way; Accelerate containment efforts and the pace of the vaccination.
Dr Babu goes on to say: “I was among a few people who had said that a lockdown would help reduce the speed of the virus’s transmission and allow us to ramp up healthcare infrastructure and the required resources to fight the pandemic. But despite these epidemiological advantages, the lockdown had disastrous consequences for vulnerable people. Today, ignoring the necessary three A’s, and not deploying a revised Covid-19 control strategy, cannot become an excuse to impose a lockdown.
‘Act decisively now’
“If these measures are not taken, the number of cases will continue to rise and many lives will be lost. Poor people are at higher risk of death because they can’t access and/or afford advanced care to save their lives.
“In summary, we are doomed if there is no action and if there is a lockdown. Failure to act decisively now will have a doubly deadly impact on the millions of impoverished persons in India.”