AS INDIA approaches the end of a 40-day national lockdown and negotiates a staggered exit, some key questions sharply frame its fight against Covid-19: Are we prepared for a possible surge in cases if curbs are eased? What does containment mean when people start moving more between districts and states? Do we have enough beds, paramedical staff, intensive care units, and ventilators to face a possible spike? How much testing is optimal and do we have enough kits? What’s the new normal?
There is no better person to address these questions than Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the country, who is closely involved in building strategies for prevention, containment, and management of COVID-19 in India. The Indian Express will host its second online Express Adda with Dr Guleria, also internationally renowned pulmonologist, on Monday, May 4.
The e-Adda will be moderated by Ravish Tiwari, Political Editor, and Kaunain Sheriff M, Principal Correspondent.
Dr Guleria is part of the core team of top officials reviewing and monitoring the pandemic in the country. He heads the Clinical Research Group of the National Task Force for COVID-19. He is also a member of the empowered group constituted by the government to track the availability of facilities and critical care training and heads a team that runs the National Tele-consultation Centre at AIIMS, connecting doctors across the country in real-time for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
In an interview with The Indian Express earlier, he had earlier underlined that although the number of positive cases had not skyrocketed compared with other countries, India should not sit back. “We have to be very aggressive in trying to maintain this by containing the spread in a geographical area rather than allowing it to spread,” he had said.
Given the constraints of public healthcare infrastructure in India, Dr Guleria had said, “…the strategy for having a lockdown is essential so that we are able to contain the widespread infection and have time to improve our health resources. To my mind, the economic cost of having a huge outbreak is much more in terms of both the cost and the mortality than what we will lose during the lockdown in economic terms. That is why the lockdown makes sense, even though it is causing a lot of strain on the country’s economy.”
The Express Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group and features those at the centre of change. Among the recent guests were Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Nobel laureates Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian, former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and cancer specialist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee. Last week, the Adda moved online with Dr Arvind Subramanian, former Chief Economic Adviser and Visiting Lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School as the first e-Adda guest.
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