When the national lockdown was imposed, with four hours notice, the country had less than 200 positive cases and a two percent fatality rate. The world marvelled at India’s determination in imposing such a strict control on a billion people.  Two months later, the number of virus positive cases is nearing 1.5 lakh and the fatality rate has inched up to 3 percent. Now the world is not so sure whether the strict lockdown has achieved what it set out to do.

The stated goal was to “flatten the curve”, that is decrease the upward slope of the spread of the virus. Since the virus mainly spreads from people to people contact, the method was to isolate people in their own homes, observe social distancing, restrict movement.

Three fourth of the economy was shut down. It was as if collectively the nation was holding its breath. But after holding our breath for two months, we are feeling breathless, the economy is choking, having run out of its oxygen. The four-hour notice given on March 24, also meant that people did not have any time to plan their own lockdown. Many families suddenly found themselves separated, since one or two members were stuck in a different city due to office duty.

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