Responding to COVID: a Mobility Based Surge Capacity Framework
It would appear, based on the experience over the past year, that at a given point in time, CoVID-19 affects a part of the country and not the whole nation. What does this imply for the sharing of resources between more affected areas and less affected areas? What does it imply for where reserves of resources need to be maintained to meet sudden surges in caseload? This note looks at these questions, by examining the spatial pattern of the epidemic over time and the nature of the resources, i.e., the extent to which their supply can be increased, the ease with which they can be moved, etc., including, where possible and necessary, the movement of patients in addition to mobile resources. Our analysis based on current transmission dynamics, points out that there are a small set of areas permanently at risk for repeat surges. These are areas where health infrastructure may need to be augmented locally. For other areas, while increases in health infrastructure would be needed, inter-district and interstate coordination can ensure that additional critical services can be made available through resource sharing. However, such a mobility-based surge capacity framework, as we have proposed, requires enabling governance structures that builds trust and facilitates coordination across district and state administrations, based on real time data analysis as well as formal institutional structures.