While most cities of the country, including Bhubaneswar, are under Lockdown/curfew, these are just measures to buy time to fight the pandemic rather than a real solution. Having said that, the reverse is also true. This seems to be the only way to keep people inside their homes in order to contain the spread of the epidemic.
Early studies across the globe suggest that whatever little success has been achieved is not so much a result of a Lockdown/curfew rather from Trace Test Treat Track and non-pharmaceutical intervention of wearing masks, social distancing, hand sanitising, decongesting crowded places, spending not more than 20 minutes in crowded places, etc. Add this the Vaccine.
Bhubaneswar had to shut down, as clearly, none of the above strategies was working. Neighbourhood pharmacies share in strict confidentiality that a COVID patient is being treated at home without any test every hundred meters. Many such patients have chosen the path of early self-medication rather than testing, waiting and then starting treatment as it appears to be a long process. Pharmacy owners confide that many such patients have tested negative too. While this method is not bad considering it reduces the pressure on hospitals, it means there is no record of such patients.
Perhaps more than Lockdown/Shutdown/Curfew, there should be more focus on Trace Test Treat Track, which was effective during the first wave in Bhubaneswar but is missing in the present one. Those getting treated at home without being tested should also get the required medical support as a method of trace mechanism. Local pharmacies could play an important role in this.
This process of trace mechanism will also benefit the public authority in containing the infection as well as increasing the percentage of recovery. It may not be possible to track each person but using an intelligence network could certainly help Bhubaneswar in getting accolades while serving as a model for other cities across the nation.
The city must set tools of counting everyone in this pandemic than just selling empty streets to home delivery boys. Rather, it is wiser to gift the empty streets to cyclists and walkers as a long-term investment on Better Cities Better Lifestyle.