‘Pandemic Will Spread More, Lockdown Failed’: Public Health Expert

Dr Mathew Varghese, public health expert and orthopaedic surgeon, talks about how COVID-19 will only spread further.

Updated16 Jun 2020, 08:38 AM IST
Coronavirus
2 min read

A renowned public health expert and orthopaedic surgeon at St Stephens Hospital in Delhi, Dr Mathew Varghese has been consulted by governments and institutions across the world. In 2018, Bill Gates had described Dr Varghese as one of the five real life heroes of the world.

In an exclusive interview to The Quint, Dr Varghese speaks about where we are headed with the coronavirus pandemic, how it will only spread further, and when the disease is likely to peak. Dr Varghese also talks about how the lockdown has not been beneficial.

Click on the player below for the full podcast.

‘Community Spread in India’

Dr Varghese has said that community transmission has been happening in India. When asked about the government denying community spread, Dr Varghese said that 60% of the people are asymptomatic. And when contact tracing becomes tough, then we must understand that there is community spread in the country. According to him, COVID cases will see a peak in July.

4 Mantras to Save Yourself From the COVID-19 Pandemic

  1. Maintain social distance at all times
  2. Wear mask when leaving home
  3. Do not touch your mask unnecessarily
  4. Wash your hands properly after touching surfaces

Dr Varghese said that we can't stop working due to the pandemic. That is why the lockdown has been gradually relaxed. “Go to work, but take the safety precautions – maintain social distance, wear mask, wash hands, avoiding touching your face unnecessarily. Let's assume that every person is infected and take the same precautions at all times. I go to the hospital every day, see at least 60 patients daily. But with precautions,” he said.

Who Needs a Hospital Bed?

According to Dr Varghese, not everyone who tests positive, needs a hospital bed. A patient must consider going to the hospital if symptoms are not mild and the condition is worsening. Now there is a problem with beds with oxygen supply. And this is a permanent problem, because our public health system has always been decaying. The solution at the moment is to use large oxygen cylinders in makeshift hospitals.

Has the Lockdown Helped Flatten the Curve? Should Lockdown be Extended?

Dr Varghese is of the opinion that the lockdown was not required. Lockdown was needed to help people prepare for the crisis so that everyone is aware. And this required a lockdown of at least two-three weeks. Two to three weeks of lockdown would not have forced migrant workers to go back.

“Lockdown or no lockdown, there would still be a spike in COVID cases. The curve hasn’t flattened. Number of cases is still rising. So clearly, lockdown has not benefitted.”
Dr Mathew Verghese, Public Health Expert

We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated.

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Published: 15 Jun 2020, 05:17 AM IST

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