The top US epidemiologist and President Joe Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser, Dr. Anthony S Fauci commented on India’s poor condition amidst COVID-19’s second wave. He suggested that India should impose a complete lockdown for a few weeks.
In an interview with Indian Express, Dr. Fauci said, “no nation likes to lock itself down, but an immediate shutdown for a few weeks could help put an end to the transmission cycle in India.”
According to him, lockdown can provide a window to take “immediate, intermediate, and long range” steps to contain the situation. He suggests that India needs to “Address the absolute immediate problem, get the intermediate things going, and then take a look at the longer range in regards to vaccines.”
Dr. Fauci stated, “It just seems to me that, right now, India is in a very difficult and desperate situation… So when you have a situation like that you’ve got to look at the absolute immediate… The first thing to do is to first look at what is the immediate thing you can do right now… One of the things that you can do to prevent this prolonging — you’ve got to look at it in multiple different phases.”
Fauci said, “Well, one of the things you really need to do, to the extent that you can, is shut down temporarily the country, I think is important.”
Other than lockdown, Dr. Fauci also suggested other ways to control the situation under immediate range. For instance, he emphasized on the need of vaccination and creating emergency groups to sort how to get oxygen and other necessary supplies.
On the intermediate level, giving the example of China, Fauci suggested to build emergency units in minimal time to serve as hospitals. Secondly, he mentioned the use of different government groups such as the military to help distribute vaccines like the US did.
Finally, in the longer range, Dr Fauci stated the need and urgency of people being vaccinated at a larger number. He stated, “To have a country like India, where two per cent of people are vaccinated, is a very serious situation. You absolutely have to get more people vaccinated.”
However, Fauci made it clear that he didn’t want this interview to come out as something political. He stated, “The one thing I don’t want to do and I hope it doesn’t turn out this way, is to get involved in any sort of criticism of how India has handled the situation because then it becomes a political issue and I don’t want to do that since I’m a public health person and I’m not a political person.”