As we get to Day Thirteen of lockdown (it started here on 20 March in its milder form, like it is in most other countries) and yet cases are still on the rise. The tough lockdown here – no shops, supermarkets, bakeries open – started on 24 March and is being lifted today as supermarkets and shops, but not retail bakeries, re-open to one-third of the population, all whose surname begins with a letter from A to F. I will venture out for a few basic things later, hoping the queues may be shorter. With my mask and ID card, of course.
All this to say that, even with a lockdown, even with a draconian lockdown in Mauritius for over a week, the spread of the disease seems to take quite a while for the slowing down effect to take place. Yesterday a 20-year-old girl passed away. Today, an Immigration Officer in his 50s.
Italy, where the epidemic has taken a heavy toll, is in lockdown since 9 March and only now that there is a slowdown in the rate of spread of the disease – a flattening, as they say, of the curve.
So, we need stamina for “staying home”.
And it is not as easy, as we all know, for everyone.
We have friends, for example, who have two children under 9 years old who each have a different neurological disease. The family lives in two rooms. So, they have devised all manner of games involving imaginary beings, games that take place in the corridor between the two rooms, to get the children to have exercise – sometimes crawling under a line on the wall and so on. The older one understands the need for “social distancing” but the younger one thinks that, too, is a game. So, he sneaks up and suddenly kisses his Mom or Dad and then cries “virus” and runs away. So, when you feel cooped up, just imagine this family.
To get back to the comparative figures, though.
If we take the top six countries in terms of total number of cases, total number of deaths, and cases per million of population, and deaths per million of population, we can see big differences that are not yet easy to understand. Presumably China had a better lockdown than the USA, Italy and Spain? The site that keeps up with this is called “worldometers” and googling it is enough to get there. Here is a glance at part of their table today. Anyway, it’s worth studying a bit.
Country Cases Deaths Cases per Deaths per
1 m pop 1 m pop
World 937,170 47,267 120 6
USA 215,344 5,112 651 15
Italy 110,574 13,155 1,829 218
Spain 104,118 9,387 2,227 201
China 81,554 3,312 57 2
Germany 77,981 931 931 11
France 56,989 4,032 873 62
P.S. I ventured out to the supermarket at Cascavelle thinking it might be easier there, but was told by police officers outside that the queue was already so long that I would not get in by closing time at 5 pm. It was 1:00 o’clock. I wasn’t sure I believed the policemen so I asked a masked individual packing goods into his car what time he had arrived and he said at 8 a.m. So, I came home. Luckily, on the way home, in Bambous I could still “trase” and get a few vegetables and cans of food for us and the dogs. At Winners, as I drove past, it looked something like Heathrow queues for non-Europe passengers with winding, distance respecting queues bending back on each other.
Lindsey Collen, for LALIT, a personal view