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Stop panicking, it won't help control corona!

Stop panicking, it won
Highlights

Coronavirus is challenging the mankind as never before. The US has already declared that it is at war with the invisible enemy.

Coronavirus is challenging the mankind as never before. The US has already declared that it is at war with the invisible enemy. China is saying it has overcome the initial phase of hiccups and is now in a position to control its spread.

Of course, no one believes it. The number of cases of infection doubling in a week to top 3,10,000 on March 22, points to the increasing challenges for governments world-wide as they lock down more people and shut borders. The total number of cases now is 312,000 with 13,407 deaths.

Italy leads the toll with 4,825 deaths. A growing body of evidence shows that people without any major signs of illness can spread the coronavirus. In that sense, this is a stealth virus. It has a long, latent asymptomatic phase, and this explains why it is spreading so quickly.

In fact, unknowingly, many healthcare workers have transmitted COVID-19 to others. The number of "silent carriers" – people who are infected by the coronavirus but show delayed or no symptoms – could be as high as one-third of those who test positive, according to classified Chinese government data seen by the South China Morning Post.

That could further complicate the strategies being used by countries to contain the virus. More than 43,000 people in China had tested positive for COVID-19 by the end of February but had no immediate symptoms, a condition typically known as asymptomatic, according to the data.

They were placed in quarantine and monitored but were not included in the official tally of confirmed cases, which stood at about 80,000 at the time. Scientists have been unable to agree on what role asymptomatic transmission plays in spreading the disease.

A patient usually develops symptoms in five days, though the incubation period can be as long as three weeks in some rare cases. One obstacle is that countries tally their confirmed cases differently.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies all people who test positive as confirmed cases regardless of whether they experience any symptoms. South Korea also does this. But the Chinese government changed its classification guidelines on February 7, counting only those patients with symptoms as confirmed cases.

The United States, Britain, Italy and India simply do not test people without symptoms, apart from medical workers who have prolonged exposure to the virus. This much the world knows. The countries that are only testing those who show symptoms of COVID-19 have blundered, thanks to the WHO assessment. Italy failed here.

One cannot have a step by step lockdown. India is doing the same. It should have gone into hibernation long ago. We did not thanks to our politics and short sight. The 'go corona, go" politicians and the foolish "corona Modi ka saazish hai anti-CAA ke khilaaf" politicians abound in this country. You cannot lockdown selectively.

And as bodies pile up, go for further lockdowns the lockdown must be national, not regional as Italy did and failed. Anti-CAA protesters say they don't go home.

A particular religious practitioner says, he won't stop going to the place of worship. We have masses climbing over one another to get into the trains...What a nation? 'Don't panic, just prepare," the government says. Our moves indicate we only panic but not prepare.

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