Dr Anthony Fauci said that looking at the scale of the crisis, India should consider putting together a crisis group that would come together and start organizing things.
Leading US epidemiologist Anthony Fauci has suggested a lockdown for a few weeks in India as an immediate measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus, with its deadly second wave showing no signs of ebbing.
Dr Fauci, in an interview with an Indian newspaper, said that another most important thing right now is getting oxygen, medicine and PPE.
He said that looking at the scale of the crisis, India should consider putting together a crisis group that would come together and start organizing things.
Without naming any government, he said one of the things that should have been recognized that “victory has been declared perhaps too prematurely”.
“Well, one of the things you really need to do, if possible, is to temporarily shut down the country, I think that’s important. If we want to pause and come back to what I said: there is the immediate, the intermediate and the long [measures to contain the virus].
“I think the most important thing right now is to get oxygen, to get supplies, to get medicine, to get PPE, that sort of thing, but also, one of the immediate things to do is basically call for the closure of the country, ”said Dr Fauci, who is the chief medical adviser to the Biden administration.
He said when China experienced a big explosion of coronavirus cases a year ago, they closed their doors completely.
Dr Fauci said it was not necessary to stop for six months, but it could be temporary to end the cycle of transmission.
So one of the things to consider is to shut down temporarily, he said.
“Literally lock in to have less spread. No one likes to lock the country down. Well that’s a problem when you do it for six months, ”he said.
But just a few weeks of lockdown could have a significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak.
Some states have imposed a lockdown. Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month said the lockdown should be the ‘last resort’ to deal with the raging pandemic and called on states to convince migrant workers to stay at their workplaces with a guarantee for their lives and livelihoods.
Breaking all of its previous records, India hit a daily record on Saturday with more than 4 lakh of new infections, while active cases crossed the 32 lakh mark.
The second wave of the coronavirus has wreaked havoc, infecting lakhs and killing thousands of people every day over the past few days. There have been cases where people have died for lack of medical facilities, including oxygen. In many cases, families need to provide oxygen for their patients because they cannot be admitted to hospitals.
“I have heard people from the streets bring their mothers and fathers, their sisters and brothers in search of oxygen. They seem to think there was really no organization, no central organization, ”Dr Fauci said.
Emphasizing that vaccination plays a crucial role in managing the coronavirus situation, Dr Fauci said that while India, a country of 1.4 billion people, had only fully vaccinated 2% of its population total, then he still had a very long way to go.
“You have to stock up. You have to enter into contractual agreements with the various companies that exist in the world. There are many companies that now have vaccines. I think you have to negotiate with them to try to get a commitment, ”he said.
“And also, India is the largest vaccine producing country in the world. That’s the trick – you have to build your own capacity to make vaccines, ”he added.