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February 26, 2021

Why Covid track and trace can fail

By Paul Dennis

26 February

Markus Brunnermeier, an economist, shared a webinar with Monica de Bolle, an economist and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), on a chronic pandemic, policy implications, and vaccine geopolitics.

Experts believe that the nature of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is too dangerous and difficult to control, coupled with the rise in zoonotic viruses because of increased human contact with the environment.

It is also being observed that Covid testing is primarily focused on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which are diagnostic tests that help in detecting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

However, they are not good for epidemiological control as they fail to catch people in the infectious window, which makes isolation and contact tracing more difficult.

Countries have now emphasised rapid tests to identify viral loads in the infectious window.

In terms of vaccine geopolitics, richer countries have more doses contracted that they actually need.

The whole inactivated vaccine, on the other hand, which is said to have higher robustness is currently being produced by only China and India.

Other countries are unlikely to take it up due to high cost.

Experts stress on vaccines being updated regularly, highlighting the importance of evaluating debt and deficit burdens arising out of the chronic virus crisis, and rebuild economics around public health.

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