The government has a stark choice. A strong suppression strategy should result in a noticeable flattening of the CoVid 10 infection curve over a relatively short time. But with herd immunity in the general population less than one percent, there is a strong risk of a second and subsequent wave of infections once restrictions are lifted, making it likely that some degree of population distancing strategies will need to be applied for at least a twelve month period and possibly longer.
Whilst strict social distancing can be effective in reducing the infection rate, “lock-down” measures cannot be sustained either socially, economically or politically for an extended period of time. To maintain people's consent and contain spiralling costs, the government needs an exit strategy that rapidly transitions to a more cost-effective and targeted community-based strategy that provides the foundation for a sustainable recovery. Such an approach would use communications and pharmaceutical innovations to support voluntary self-testing and thereby empower people to understand the risk and self-initiate appropriate early action as required.
With extremely low herd immunity and no vaccine in sight, the fight against the highly contagious virus must be taken to the frontline where at-risk people are getting infected. This will require an immediate mobilisation of nation-wide community-based surveillance, anticipatory action and community-care programme, rather than a continuation of national suppression directives that cannot differentiate between who is infected and who is not.
Marcus C. Oxley F.ISRM
Principal Consultant / Managing Director - Resilience Solutions
Marcus is a senior disaster / crisis management practitioner and policy adviser with over twenty eight years working across Africa, Asia and Europe in senior leadership positions for international disaster management / development organisations. He has particular expertise in the formulation and implementation of policies and practices to reduce disaster risk and strengthen the resilience of communities and nations.
From 2007 - 2017 Marcus was the founding Executive Director of the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR). With over 850 member organisations across 140 countries, GNDR has grown rapidly to become the world's largest alliance of civil society organisations working collaboratively to strengthen resilience and prevent disasters.
Since leaving GNDR, Marcus has established a consultancy practice "Resilience Solutions" providing training, capacity building and technical advisory services to enable public and private sector clients to survive and thrive in a world defined by rapid change, shocks and stresses of all kinds.