Andhra Pradesh

Asymptomatic cases keep officials on their toes

The focus is on minimising the deaths, as it is difficult to detect every asymptomatic case, say officials.

The focus is on minimising the deaths, as it is difficult to detect every asymptomatic case, say officials.  

‘Virus carriers with no symptoms could be 20 times more than detected cases’

Even as the authorities are leaving no stone unturned to check the spread of coronavirus, the rise in asymptomatic cases, which is said to be 90%-95% of the infections across the State, has kept the health officials on their toes.

There is no proper method to measure such cases with no symptoms, but are potential carriers, seriously affecting those who have comorbid conditions, they say.

The health officials are now laying focus on preventing the deaths.

According to district COVID nodal officer P.V. Sudhakar, 664 positive cases were reported from Visakhapatnam district by Friday night, while the same for the State was 10,884.

“Going by a conservative estimate, the asymptomatic cases will be at least 10 to 20 times more than the detected cases,” said Dr. Sudhakar, who is also the principal of Andhra Medical College.

Quoting ICMR reports, he said an estimate suggested that there were around two crore asymptomatic cases in India. “Going by it, such cases could be at least a few lakh in the State and thousands in Visakhapatnam district which has a population of close to 30 lakh,” he said.

Common phenomenon

“A majority of the infections are asymptomatic. The patients do not show any symptoms as their innate immune system is good and they fight back the virus. In some asymptomatic cases, the immune system is strong and while in the others the viral load is low,” explained Satya Varaprasad, Director of Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS), a designated State COVID hospital.

“Whenever the asymptomatic patients touch their eyes, nose or mouth, the virus is transferred to their hands and it spreads through anything that they touch. That is why it is very important to wash hand frequently with soap or alcohol-based sanitisers, wear a good mask and maintain social distance,” he added.

Strategic testing

As it is difficult to detect every asymptomatic case, the Union and State governments are now focussing on minimising the death rate.

“We are now focussing on strategic testing to cover the high-risk group such as people aged over 60 years and those in the age gorup of 40 to 60 years with comorbidity and primary contacts of all positive patients,” said Dr. Sudhakar.

The success of the strategy would depend on the strict implementation of norms laid down for containment zones and conducting more tests, he added.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 4:16:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/asymptomatic-cases-keep-officials-on-their-toes/article31940879.ece

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