Is India Entering Stage 3 Of Covid-19 Outbreak?
With some 4000 positive cases within a population of 1.3 billion, the burning question within the minds of the many is whether or not India is under-reporting. Until a few days ago, there have been strict, conservative criteria for COVID 19 testing.
Only people with travel history within the last 14 days with symptoms implicational coronavirus and people who have come in contact with confirmed cases were being tested. The Indian Council of Medical Research or ICMR has now extended the testing criteria.
All hospitalized patients with the severe acute respiratory disease with none travel and get in touch with history, and asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case would be tested once between Day 5 and Day 14 of coming in his/her contact.
In addition to 111 ICMR-accredited laboratories, six private laboratories have now been permitted to undertake the real-time PCR-based Covid19 testing. Extending the testing criteria and screening an outsized number of "suspect cases" will give a concept regarding the extent of community transmission.
Community transmission happens when a person tests positive for COVID 19 with no trace to the source of infection.
Firstly, an accurate diagnosis will help in just identifying people who are sick so that appropriate care is provided to them. Those within the community who have tested positive with mild symptoms will be advised to self-isolate which might go a protracted way in minimizing the exponential spread of the virus.
Secondly, if a person has tested positive, one can diligently trace the contacts and test them, and if they prove positive, they will be isolated also.
Thirdly, testing the "suspect cases" allows hospitals to be better prepared regarding the likelihood of how many cases they will expect.
And finally, testing enables us to gauge the evolution of the disease and strengthen our efforts to regulate the virus.
Prevention of community transmission is that the cornerstone within the fight against this virus. Currently, India has tested around 16,000 people. this is often in striking contrast to a little country like South Korea (which features a population like Tamil Nadu) that tests 12,000 - 15,000 people a day.
Countries like South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China are ready to "flatten the curve"(i.e. measures that keep the daily number of disease cases at a manageable level for medical providers) through innovative ways of diligently testing an outsized section of the community.
There is also an urgent got to buttress the delicate public health system within the country. Although the virus is asymptomatic and related to mild infection within the overwhelming majority, 5% of patients require ICU care. India doesn't have even one single bed per 1,000 people and features a dismally small number of some 70, 000 ICU beds that cater to five million patients who require ICU admissions per annum.
God forbid, should the community transmission transform things to a full-blown epidemic, India would barely be during a position to affect the catastrophic dimensions of an impending crisis.
The next few weeks are going to be crucial in determining whether India can contain the exponential transmission of the virus. We must do everything in our power to try to do the proper things in record time.