The world is in the midst of one of the most challenging phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries like the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and China are witnessing a surge in infections despite mass vaccination due to the emergence of a more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. While nations such as India, Britain, and many other are preparing for another wave of infections.
The key goal for every nation with a COVID strategy has been attaining a zero-COVID mark. But, a number of people are now questioning the approach. This is mainly because the nature of the coronavirus, responsible for COVID-19, is highly transmissible and variant.
In this article, we will attempt to analyse what the zero-COVID approach is and why is it failing in almost all countries.
What is the zero-COVID approach?
The zero-COVID approach is driving down the number of COVID-19 cases as close as possible to zero. This is largely done through strict virus control measures and protocols. Although, citizens and mass pandemic behavior also play a monumental role in the achievement of this goal.
It is important to understand that zero-COVID dies not to mean the elimination of the virus, which is almost impossible but living freely with the virus by breaking the chain of transmission.
In clear terms, the absence for a suitable period of time of community transmissions is zero-COVID. This strategy is one of the hottest topics of debate globally as countries with this approach like China, Japan and New Zealand are failing to curb the virus. This changes the trajectory and understanding of virus and transmission behaviour at a global level.
Why is zero-COVID a failure?
Delta variant: The first and foremost reason behind the failure of this prized zero-COVID approach is the Delta variant of the coronavirus. Delta variant is basically a mutated version of SARC-COV 2, which is said to be more contagious than the original form and is behind the deadly wave of corona waves in India and Europe and now US and China.
The way this coronavirus behaves is still to be known and constant mutations and their changing patterns are making vaccines less effective, which is on this strategy is primarily based on.
Lack of knowledge about the lifting of restrictions: Another reason behind the failure of this zero-COVID strategy is that the followers have learned to keep the death and infection levels relatively low while observing strict protocols but do not know how to survive without it. So when the international travel opens, citizens bring the other variants along and we get back to square one.
This is what happened in the case of China, when the Air China Flight CA910 touched down at the Chinese city of Nanjing on July 10, it brought back passengers infected with the Delta variant of the virus.