The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has completely smashed our daily routines. And this surge also comes along with the presence of some new variants of the COVID-19 virus, and now scientists are still trying to figure out how these variants behave, and how to tackle them. Presently, the questions are rising if the second lockdown would be there or not. Some big cities and states like Maharashtra are also planning to announce the various restrictions once again, or to extend the previous ones. And with the current lockdown guidelines ending on May 14th, the residents of Maharashtra in the last 3 weeks have been expressing their opinions via Local Circles in several online city groups and the state-level online communities.

The majority of the respondents in this survey favored lockdown beyond May 14. This online social media platform also urged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to extend the COVID-19 restrictions till 31st May, following the survey conducted by them in the state. 84% of netizens from the state of Maharashtra supported the extension of lockdown restrictions till May 31, in a survey conducted by the Local Circles in the state. However, around 43% of the respondents also suggested allowing home deliveries of all goods to minimize business disruption and consumer inconvenience at the same time. The netizens of Maharashtra have also signified that consumer convenience and business continuation must also be specified if the lockdown is imposed once again.

The Local Circles claims that the main purpose of this survey was to know the heartbeat of the residents of Maharashtra about one of the best methods for containment and restarting all the financial exercises. According to the Health Ministry of India, till 11 May, 8 am, the total active COVID19 cases were 3,71,5221. The cases have been on a rise since March, and on March 21, 2021, the central government reported about 47000 cases. In other words, the COVID-19 cases of India had risen 4.5 times since the low point of 1 February 2021. Additionally, this survey pursued to know what sort of companies they suppose should be permitted throughout lockdown and what services they want within the subsequent 3 months.

The Local Circles conveyed its findings to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte intending to support them to make suitable choices. The Founder and Chairman of the Local Circles Sachin Taparia also sent a letter to the Chief Minister. He explained to the CM that, based on hundreds of comments that were received, Local Circles conducted a public survey on the extension of restrictions. Sachin also added in the letter that the platform has been quite active in tracking the COVID-19 situation on the ground and sensitizing the central and state governments on issues faced by people. “With timely decisions taken by you (CM Uddhav Thackeray) concerning imposing restrictions, Maharashtra has been able to flatten the COVID-19 curve with Mumbai now becoming a case study for many metros on how to implement COVID-19 lockdowns successfully”, he added in the letter.

After the first lockdown in March 2020, imposed by the central government, and its harsh side effects on some people, including its impact on the economy and stress on people’s finances, another lockdown may not be the ideal way forward. And some experts also believe that lockdowns will once again badly affect the livelihoods of numerous people and squash the economy. India also needs to double down on genomic sequencing to spot new variants, the pace of vaccination must pick up, and COVID-19 precautions must continue swiftly. The opinions of extending lockdown perhaps stem from the fact that Indians are now more scared of COVID-19 than they were just a few weeks back.

The government officials immediately require some decisive ways into the data on COVID-19 cases, tests, vaccinations, deaths, and other important data to understand why there is a huge spike in the cases. Finding a permanent solution to the rising numbers will not be an easy or quick one for the government. There are a lot of people who think a lockdown may be useful because it can protect lives, and another group of people thinks that a lockdown would destroy numerous livelihoods. And for our government, balancing the public health crisis and economic activities will be a key decision to make.