Even as the government downplays the existence of the community transmission of COVID-19, the association of epidemiologists and public health experts have issued a statement that says that India has already reached a well-established community transmission.
The statement said that the lockdown was imposed based on the worst-case model presented by “an influential institution” which has proven to be different than reality. The statement read,
“Had the government of India consulted epidemiologists who had a better grasp of disease transmission dynamics compared to modelers, it would have perhaps been better served. From the limited information available in the public domain, it seems that the government was primarily advised by clinicians and academic epidemiologists with limited field training and skills.”
The statement also claimed that the country has already been paying a heavy price as the humanitarian crisis increases with the spread of the novel coronavirus. The association also accused the policymakers of heavily relying on general administrative bureaucrats instead of epidemiology experts.
The statement was issued by three associations – The Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM) and Indian Association of Epidemiologists who pointed out the inaccuracies and the lack of updation in the data shared with scientists, public health professionals, and the general public and called for the rectification of the same.
The Association Provides 11 recommendations
As the number of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases rise in the country, the associations recommended the government to treat those cases at home instead of hospitalizing them. The association also said that the migrants should have been allowed to travel much before when the spread of infection was low and the current movement of migrants is bound to carry the infection throughout the country. Especially, to the rural areas where the public health infrastructure is poorer than the metro cities.
Apart from this, the association has also given 11 recommendations to the government that includes replacing lockdown with cluster restrictions, scaling up facilities to test, trace and isolate, sentinel and active surveillance to identify hot spots or clustering, combating social stigma and better protective gear for the health workers.
Source: The Times of India