Zero Covid Strategy
- September 12, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN Topics
Zero Covid Strategy
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – countries abandoned ‘Zero Covid’ strategy
- The objective of this strategy is to keep transmission of the virus as close to zero as possible and ultimately to eliminate it entirely from particular geographical areas.
- The strategy aims to increase the capacity to identify and trace chains of transmission and to identify and manage outbreaks, while also integrating economic, psychological, social and health-care support to guarantee the isolation of cases and contacts. This approach is also known as “Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support” (FTTIS).
- The more coordinated, flexible and effective the process, the easier it is to curb the circulation of the virus and keep the number of cases close to zero. Likewise, the lower the incidence of infection, the more effective the strategy is and the easier it becomes to slow the pandemic and mitigate its impacts on health, society and the economy.
- As a public health strategy, it is important to distinguish maximum suppression from the strategy of seeking to end the pandemic by gradually allowing the population to become infected. This approach, known as herd immunity, can be a lengthy and costly way to control an epidemic, especially for groups at higher risk of severe disease. It also disproportionately affects the most economically and socially vulnerable individuals and communities. From the standpoint of the precautionary principle, a herd immunity approach is inadvisable because we have a limited understanding of the duration of immunity, the long-term impact of the disease, the behaviour of the disease in successive reinfections, and the associated rates of morbidity and mortality.
- The maximum suppression strategy should also be distinguished from containment or mitigation strategies aimed at preventing the health system from being overwhelmed (“flattening the curve”). Even though mitigation strategies are useful when community spread is already very high and impacting the health system, they have an important weakness: they fail to address periods of low transmission or sporadic cases. A mitigation approach therefore runs a high risk of leading to persistent transmission, necessitating endless cycles of lockdowns followed by a relaxation of restrictions—a pattern that cripples the economy, the health system and community engagement.
- In contrast, early preventive action to keep transmission under control not only prevents health system overload at every level of care—including care for diseases other than COVID-19—but also protects the physical and emotional health of citizens and health professionals, while also preserving social and economic life and increasing the trust and commitment of society as a whole.