Expressing concern over surging coronavirus cases in India, America’s top public health expert and White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr Anthony Fauci on Monday recommended a nationwide lockdown, massive vaccination drive and the construction of a large number of makeshift hospitals.
“It is quite obvious to everyone that the situation in India is extremely serious,” Dr Fauci, who is considered one of the world’s top infectious disease specialists, said in an interview.
“When you have so many people getting infected, the lack of the capability to take adequate care of everyone; when you have shortages of hospital beds and oxygen and shortages of supplies, that really becomes a very desperate situation. Which is the reason why we feel it’s important for the rest of the world to help out, to the extent they can,” Dr Fauci said.
Keeping a close tab on developments in India, given that US President Joe Biden has geared up the administration to help India, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said there are certain things that India can do immediately, mid-term and long-term basis.
“First of all right now, they should start getting as many people vaccinated as they possibly can, with both the vaccines that they develop themselves in India as well as supplies of vaccines that they may be able to procure from other suppliers, be that the United States, be that Russia, whatever country is willing whenever companies are willing to supply vaccine,” Dr Fauci said.
However, getting someone ‘vaccinated now’ does not solve today’s problem, he noted, adding that it helps prevent a problem several weeks from now.
“But the solution immediately right now is, and I know India is already doing it, so I’m not telling you something that you are not already doing. A few days ago, I recommended and I believe at least parts of India are doing it, that you shut down the country in lockdown,” he said.
“Because other countries, including for example what China did last year, what Australia did when they had an outbreak, what New Zealand did, what other countries did is to completely lock down for a relatively limited period of time. You don’t have to lock down for six months. You can lock down for a few weeks. Because when you walk down, it is well known, with the experience of other countries that locking down, definitely interferes with the dynamics of the viral outbreak and you could interfere with the continuity and the transmission of infection,” Dr Fauci said.
He also recommended taking the help of the armed forces to immediately build makeshift field hospitals.
With Agency inputs