Guntur: A team of experts from Harvard Medical School and Yale School of Medicine have warned that Guntur could see a significant surge in Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths if the Chilakaluripet red light area opens.
However, an extended closure of the red light area could reduce Covid-19 cumulative deaths by 75% and reduce cumulative cases by 73% by the peak of the epidemic. The model further projects an additional 23 days of delay in the peak if the red light area remains closed.
The experts studied the Guntur situation during a recent visit to the district and said if the red light area opens for business, the disease will spread quickly and infect a large percentage of sex workers and customers.
They noted that Japan did not close down red light areas in-time and saw an “explosion” in cases because of a red light area that left local hospitals “overwhelmed”. India would need 70% more hospital beds by the peak if red light areas reopened. “If the Chilakaluripet red light area is reopened it could push Guntur over peak medical capacity sooner,” the report said, adding that fewer sick people would be able to receive treatment causing an increase in preventable deaths.
Dr Sahayakan, a member of Code Red Coalition, a global coalition of doctors and researchers that is advising governments on how to prevent Covid-19 spread said, “None of the protection measures like distancing, masks, or sanitising can effectively stop Covid-19 transmission during sex work. Sex work cannot be safely practised in red light areas in India given their nature. It can result in many cases and deaths”.