New Delhi: Social distancing is one certain way to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus and all countries are trudging the same way in the absence of a vaccine or a definite treatment. But in India, ensuring social distance is a challenge and yes the population is one of the reasons, feel the experts. For example, even on the fourth day of nationwide lockdown, videos have surfaced from crowded markets where people are nonchalantly violating the social distancing norms. Also Read - Coronavirus: US Laboratory Develops Portable, Five-Minute COVID-19 Test

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Daily wagers who were leaving Delhi for their hometowns as they were out of work were made to return to their homes in Delhi — either on foot or on the bus. But this too led to an unwarranted congregation of people, exposed to the threat of contracting the coronavirus. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has promised that the AAP government will feed poor people twice a day so that no one goes to sleep hungry. But how is it possible to feed people bypassing a crowd? Efforts are on. Apart from the population factor, there are cultural and religious reasons too.

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A report has said that the new coronavirus growth rate is declining in a somewhat predictable pattern in countries where social distancing/lockdown is established. But it will be difficult to sustain social distancing in some of the most densely populated areas in India. How long and how quickly the virus growth declines via social distancing varies by country based on measures what have been taken. This has happened in Italy, Spain, France and Germany.

“The UK, at 18 per cent, is still high, but social distancing measures have only just been rigorously applied. The next two weeks should show a declining rate of growth in the UK,” said Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research in its latest report.

“In India, the official number of infected is low but while it is growing relatively quickly (20 per cent in the last 24 hours) the government has moved fast to implement draconian lockdown measures that should slow the spread even if the real level of infection is much higher,” the report added.

The problem for many places in India is that social distancing, in some of the most densely populated areas, will be difficult to sustain for long.

“India has implemented the fiercest measures of any country. It will be a test case of how to bring the outbreak under control across a vast and populous country,” the report mentioned.

Statisticians have observed that the coronavirus outbreak precisely follows mathematical models. In the exponential growth phase, the unrestricted spread of the disease is about 25 per cent per day – the way the US is currently experiencing.

“This can be observed when the virus is spreading freely in a community without any social distancing measures, but testing is comprehensive enough so that significant numbers of new cases are recorded. Italy stayed in this stage for around the first 12 days of March,” the report mentioned.

When social distancing is established, the growth rate starts to decline in a somewhat predictable pattern.

(With Agency Inputs)