In the year 2020, it seemed that the outbreak of the epidemic is gradually decreasing. But now we are going through the second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic. For this spread, the emergence of new varieties of viruses, bestowed physical distance, and data difficulties. Lockdown is a sharp solution to overcome the spread of viruses and should be avoided. Companies need to make strategies for the year 2021-22 in this changed reality. The most important way is to get better statistics about the disease and to end government control over-vaccination.
The disease spread very quickly in the early 2020s. The sero-survey showed that by July-August, a significant portion of India’s population had developed coronavirus antibodies. It came to light about Mumbai that the rich people remained locked in their homes during the epidemic, while the poor had developed immunity in forced to go out in search of livelihood. In such a situation, there was every possibility that the rich people would show speed in vaccination and the reprimand of COVID would begin to calm down. But amid the ongoing tug of war between vaccine-makers, different types of viruses, and behavior, we are caught in the second wave of the epidemic.
Data problems: Standard data on the investigation of corona infection and the number of people found positive are problematic. Investigations do not occur on a random basis. For a few months last year, the government had a monopoly on the Corona investigation and only after some time the doors of the private sector were opened for it. The shortage of investigations was also going on. An epidemic was spreading among the poor and usually they were not even conducting their investigation. In such a situation, due to the inclusion of many sick people in the last year’s investigation figures. The difference between the statistics of the investigation and the data of the sero-proliferation survey also testifies to this.
Today this disease is spreading among the rich too and there is every possibility of them getting a covid check. Capacity constraints have been overcome in private sector investigations. We hear and hear news of stress in a healthcare capacity. Also, the rich are more likely to use health care services.
Non-randomized investigations have been a curse of traditional COVID-19 data in India and the current situation is a good example of why caution should be exercised in testing this data. The only useful data on COVID-19 in India is a surprise sample from households.
Virus type: A new type of coronavirus has been introduced which has been codenamed B1.1.7. This type is believed to be more contagious and virulent. Other virus varieties, such as E-484, are also a frightening threat. There is a reasonable possibility that new varieties of the virus have established their roots in India. On the basis of this logic, the COVID-19 pandemic has become an even bigger problem than it was last year. Vaccines used worldwide are also commonly effective on new virus varieties. But scientists will have to remove the modified versions of vaccines keeping in mind the new varieties. Booster dosages may also be needed to load new data into the human immune system.
Behavior: People have been emotionally exhausted after following physical distance for many months and it is accompanied by financial stress. The resumption of the American economy has helped spur global reforms in economic conditions and everyone is eager to capitalize on every business opportunity to bring income back to the old level. This has happened at a cost of precaution.
What should policymakers do in this situation?
Companies should also keep in mind the possibility that governments will lockdown again. It would be prudent to look at the lessons learned from the previous experience of lockdown and based on this, one can be better prepared for such situations in future also.
Companies should assume that the economic stresses related to COVID-19 will not end soon and it will continue to haunt the new fiscal year as well. The practice of working from homes outside the set structure of the office was no exception, it would be an ongoing part of the modern workplace. Therefore, there is a need to define procedures according to the working environment. Companies should try to carry out a special campaign for vaccination of their employees and customers as well as their families, because this is the right way to restore normalcy.
Working while away, adult vaccination campaigns and door-to-door temperature screenings are a permanent part of the new era.
For policy-makers within the government, a strict lockdown is akin to a security theater, but it lags far behind in the analysis of benefits against costs. The test figures are exaggerating the second wave. It is far better to make the use of common health equipment like masks compulsive. State power should be used in a limited manner to prevent congestion at weddings, temples and nightclubs and to change the ventilation of air conditioners.
We need better performance in the direction of vaccination. At present only 5% of the Indian population has received the vaccine from COVID, while half of the UK population has been vaccinated. The US and the UK are issuing 0.8–0.9 doses per 100 people daily, but in India the price is six times lower at 0.15 per 100.
Consider an analogy. When the COVID-19 investigation began in India, government power was used to prevent private laboratories from being investigated. The results were very poor. However, in time, there was understanding and India’s vast private health sector was also included in the corona investigation. As a result, India’s investigation gap was resolved.
At present, the government system has a monopoly in vaccination. State-led vaccination is working well in the United States and Britain. Government capacity in India is low and inward doses of vaccine doses are also six times lower. Policy-makers should remove all government pressure in vaccination. Many vaccines should be imported and vaccination camps should be set up for their neighbors, employees, customers and people living in the premises. For example, Johnson & Johnson’s single dose vaccine appears to be a more attractive option in most parts of India, given the operational compulsions of giving two doses each. We should avoid the single form of the vaccine because it will be more impaired than the particular type of coronavirus that has found its way of defense.
Currently 30 lakh doses are being applied daily. At this rate, it will take 600 days for about 100 crore people of the country to vaccinate COVID. If we are able to achieve half the rate of US and UK (0.5 dose per 100 people per day), then this period will be reduced to 190 days.
The data gap hinders concrete decisions. We need to know the rates of sero-proliferation, infection and vaccination. We need to monitor the recombination rate for each vaccine with genome monitoring of virus varieties. This work will have to be done every week by collecting random samples from households in 200 cities of India.