Lockdown saved maximum 2.1 lakh lives, averted 70 lakh cases, claims a government model
A government empowered group formed to devise, monitor and implement India’s coronavirus containment effort has claimed that the nationwide lockdown implemented first on March 25 to break the chain of transmissions in the early stages of the spread of Covid-19 infections in the country has been successful in saving hundreds of thousands of lives and slowing down the growth of the disease as per the projections made by several mathematical models.
According to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) model, the lockdown has saved between 1.2 - 2.1 lakh lives, and averted between 36 - 70 lakh positive cases of Covid-19, claimed the chairman of empowered group I.
The projection models, prepared to gauge the efficacy of preventive measures including the lockdown, were presented on Friday afternoon during the routine press conference of government officials meant to provide updates on the status of Covid containment efforts.
According to another estimate made by ‘independent economists’, around 68,000 deaths were averted in India due to implementation of lockdown, while helping prevent an additional 23 lakh positive cases, said the chairman.
He presented another model prepared by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), which claimed that the lockdown had helped in saving 78,000 lives.
Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITIAayog and the chairman of the empowered group number 1 also highlighted the various other advantages handed out by the lockdown and said it ensured that the cases remained limited to certain areas.
“80% of all active cases were in just 5 states, more than 60% cases are in just 5 cities, the spread of Covid-19 infection has remained limited to certain areas, this is no small achievement, and also gives confidence to open up other areas,” said Dr Paul.
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi and Rajasthan are the five worst victims of the coronavirus pandemic in India.
He went on to claim that the growth rate of Covid19 cases has witnessed a steady fall from April 3, 2020, when the lockdown was able to put a brake on the speed of rise in infections.
“The number of cases today would have been much higher, had lockdown not been implemented,” he said.
The lockdown was first implemented on March 25 till April 14 and then extended in its second phase to May 3, followed by the third phase which ended on May 17. The country is now in a gradual exit mode with the national lockdown entering its fourth phase with graded resumption of economic activities.
Dr Paul added that the lockdown not only put brakes on the rising number of positive cases, but it also ensured that the rate of Covid-19 related deaths, too, came down significantly. The difference in the death rates was notable between pre-lockdown and post-lockdown situations, he claimed.
The official presentation on the efficacy of lockdown and other containment measures taken by the government comes on a day when a meeting of opposition parties was organized by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was particularly harsh on government’s handling of the crisis while alleging that the centre had no exit strategy from the lockdown.