Is Lockdown the answer?


By: Nalin Jayetileke

We as a country have responded well at the very initial stage in 2020 where we saw island wide lockdowns which had varied impacts on different segments of society. However, when the restrictions were lifted, various strains began to emerge and have gradually spread across the country.

While several medical and healthcare professionals urge a lockdown that we are experiencing now , many professionals have disagreed on the lockdowns, stating that it will have implications in the Sri Lankan snail-paced economy. Whoever was in power, we have had issues and struggled to keep the rupee afloat in line with the ever increasing US $ and such foreign currencies.  It is almost certain that the lock down  that was extended will have its own implications and whether it will help to curb and stop the spread of the deadly Delta variant is a question that has not been answered yet as the positive cases have increased comparatively from the last week. The results of this lockdown could be seen in another few weeks when the patient numbers decrease and the fatalities drop.  Fatality rate stands at 2.01 as opposed to India which is much lower than us standing at 1.34. Brazil and Russia are in front recording a 2.79 and 2.63 respectively.

It has however being revealed according to a study in the US Centre for Disease Control that the Delta variant is much more contagious and is likely to penetrate the protection the vaccines are said to be giving. It has been said that the Delta Variant is much more severe than all the other known variants would like to substantiate and confirm what I have highlighted here, The writer, who has had firsthand experience on contacting and stemming out, off the delta variant, thanks to the great medical staff in this country, the conclusion I can arrive at, is that Delta Variant does not identify who you are and what you do, given the slightest chance, it will just Kill you. So better be safe than sorry is my advice to my””  fraternity. .

One needs to be mindful, as several months earlier this year, the US health agencies relaxed its stance on mask-wearing as numbers began to decline with accelerated vaccines. However, with the emergence of the Delta variant, the masks came in again as they saw the need to respond to the Delta. It’s no secret that even the more wealthy nations struggle with mitigating this Delta and mind you, a person who has experienced that would not want to talk about it as its effects and the difficulties one go through fighting it, is unimaginable and difficult to explain, but would like to say that its always better to be free from getting it as If you do and get a bad attack/ variant and have not been properly vaccinated, the  suffering is at a another level, which could be even fatal.  Especially if you have oxygen saturation and have to be administered with external Oxygen .. its no joke, as it the body that takes it from that point at xygen is not a medicine but a fundamental requirement for the living. Whilst Oxygen is pumped artificially, the job needs to be done by your body and some could handle it, whilst some don’t and the unexpected just happen in a flash. What I understood was that for your Oxygen levels to drop to very low levels,  it take only a few minutes , the reason some die in a flash on admission to Hospital. During the time that is taken to diagnose and clinical general examination, there is proverbiality that you can loose Oxygen as a Covid Delta variant patient and you would not realize that your body is seeking Oxygen, when the organs are looking for same. As such, there is probability that you’re Oxygen levels drop as low as it can be. If you reach that point and not in a hospital, you are in big trouble as High Pressure Oxygen can only be administered in an ICU , hence the need and advice by the Doctors and the Government seek medical advice and get to a Hospital with no chances taken. The righting to do.

Reflecting back at the Lockdowns imposed, one need to focus on how the new variant spread, attack the route of the issue, rather than lockdowns is as I see this whole thing from a holistic point of view.  its evident that it has not helped much at his stage, But certainly would, and we should see a decline in a couple of weeks, but does it naan that we need to go for a prolong lockdown is a question the experts will have to find an answer and act. We need to be holistic here and look at it in a way that we hold on to its people whilst we also safeguard the little business and trading that bring in the funds to the country as else the long term implications could be something detrimental. In a scenario where the entire world is faced with such issues , aid and such too will be a scares commodity , hence my stance on driving the economy whilst safeguarding its people. We need to strike a balance here.

Whilst we take of the issue its important that we look as to what will keep the  pandemic out of the system so that we can get about our doing stuff and get back to at least the new normal with which we are struggling as at now. What is important here as was said in an article in one English newspaper did highlight last week, although restrictions were imposed we did not see a decline on reported cases. It was escalating at a rapid pace. This gives an indication even to a person like me who has no medical background nor a public heath background, the feeling that we need to have a weapon to battle this unseen enemy: the deadly Delta variant” .. and that weapon is nothing but the Vaccines at all levels and nothing else, so that we try and keep this fatal Covid at bay.

Vaccine is the way forward, but that only is not good enough as some of the experts say, one needs to be mindful of the way the virus can get into you and see that all such medical advice and protocols are properly adhered to and move on with what you do, be it lock down or otherwise.

In a Twitter message by the state minister Nivard Cabraal a while ago said “ Sri Lanka Cannot afford a Lockdown , half the population won’t be able to face its fall-out 4.5 Min in SME will be driven to despair. Macro fundamentals will be seriously compromised.”

Given the scenario and what we have experienced, its evident that effects of Lock downs are temporal, though we may have implement that in kind of patches but its the affective, carefully drawn out relaxation of lockdowns and efficient vaccination that matter, like in other countries where deaths have come down to a single digit.