Is India in a lockdown trap?
India hit 6348 cases yesterday, the highest daily number of cases. Yesterday we lost 146 people, the 2nd highest till date.
Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam all hit their highest yesterday. Maharashtra and Odisha hit their 2nd highest daily rate yesterday. Gujarat and MP hit their 3rd highest daily rate yesterday.
Don’t forget, yesterday was day 1 of Lockdown-4. With many States beginning to open up aggressively, the rate of increase in cases will only go up by the end of the month. Further, applying the death rate of last one week, India is likely to end up losing around 2500 more people in the next 2 weeks which is about 150 to 200 people daily.
At the same time, the pressure on the economy is also very high. As recent surveys have shown, the capacity of nearly half of Indian households to manage their finances any further is very low. Similarly, both Central and State Governments are continuing to struggle with their finances which means they need most of the economy working. In other words, there is enormous pressure to keep opening up India’s economy as well.
At the end, this is a tough political decision. Continuing with lockdown will have severe impact on finances. Ending the lockdown will result in an escalation of death rate. So it is likely that there will be a lockdown-5 as well but with fewer restrictions . Which means more parts of the economy will open up but the death and case rate will also go up but slowly. While most countries hit their peaks 30-40 days after they hit 1000 cases, India’s peak is some days or weeks away. India it seems has got caught in a trap it can’t exit.