Community transmission of Covid-19
To rule out community transmission of Covid-19, over a thousand samples of influenza- or pneumonia-like illnesses, taken from patients without any travel history or contact with infected persons, would now also be tested for coronavirus every week. Community transmission is when people begin to catch a disease from those who do not know they have the infection. A network of 65 laboratories of the Department of Health Research and the Indian Council of Medical Research (DHR-ICMR) will now test 20 samples each week — 10 of influenza-like illnesses and 10 of severe acute respiratory infection — for Covid-19.
- Community transmission of Covid-19 is inevitable, experts at India’s top health research body has said.
- Having isolated the virus which is a 'Wuhan-like strain', they believe the virus would follow the same pattern as it did in China. The virus will behave the same way it has behaved in China. It will follow the same pattern, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said.
- India has a 30-day window to halt the beginning of community transmission. If we manage 30 days, if community transmission doesn’t happen in the next 30 days, we may be at a good wicket.
- Community transmission happens when a patient who is not exposed to anyone known to be infected and has not travelled to countries in which the virus is circulating tests positive for infection.
- Experts at the ICMR said there were four states of the disease. Stage 1 is getting imported cases, stage 2 is local transmission, stage 3 is community transmission and stage 4 is when it turns into an epidemic. While, India is at stage 2 now, experts said stern precautions were being taken so that going to stage 3 could be halted. Taking these precautions will help so we don’t go into stage 3 which has happened in all other countries including Italy, China, the US and Europe. Going to that stage is inevitable, but if we can prevent, that window of opportunity is now.
- India has already demonstrated local transmission which scientists have seen in the Covid-19 case of Agra, where five to six family members of an infected person got infected too. The same is true of Kerala.
- We are not much worried up until stage 2. Stage 3 where the communities will be affected and in large areas, that is worrisome.
- There is a possibility that if community transmission happens, it could be a localised transmission which can be immediately contained like it happened during the Zika virus. It is not essential that the entire country will be swept off.