Andhra Pradesh

COVID-19 | Is Vizag witnessing community spread?

In the last five days (June 1 to 5), the city has recorded over 370 COVID-19 positive cases. Out of a total of about 1,270 recorded so far, the last five days accounted for about 30% of the cases.

Since opening up of the lockdown, the cases have been on the rise and from 143 cases in the first of June, the cases have shot up to 1,270, within a span of four weeks.

The containment clusters have also risen from 30 to over 220, including 98 very active and over 120 active clusters, during the same period.

This gives an indication that community spread of the virus is taking over the city.

It is no longer limited to primary contacts or those identified under the contact list of primary contacts. The spread is now regular and across different areas and profiles of the city and that is why we have over 220 containment clusters, said Director of Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences K. Satya Varaprasad. Community spread is categorised under the third phase of spread of the virus and is said to be the most dangerous and crucial phase and both Visakhapatnam city and the district is now going through this phase, said a senior officer from the Department of Health. Community spread is the phase where people contract the virus despite not being listed in the contact list of primary or secondary contacts or coming in contact with a symptomatic or a positive person.

The spread is no longer limited to a certain containment cluster but it is now across the city and this suggests that such people might have contracted the virus from an asymptomatic person or from a place visited by an asymptomatic, said Kothakota Raju, pulmonologist at GITAM Institute of Medical Science and Research, a government-nominated COVID hospital.

According to Dr. Satya Varaprasad, there is no scientific estimate on the number of asymptomatic persons, but as per the ICMR, there are close to four crore in India and in lakhs in our State. “The figure is also high in the city and district and after opening up of the lockdown, unknowingly they are infecting hundreds on a daily basis,” he said.

The infection need not be from droplets of a symptomatic or an asymptomatic person. The virus can get into any person if he or she holds anything that was touched by a symptomatic or asymptomatic person, including cellphones, door bolts, doorknobs or tabletops. The virus reportedly stays alive on the surface from couple of hours to couple of days depending on the object, said Dr. Raju.

Personal hygiene

Acknowledging that the district and the city may be entering the third phase, District Collector V. Vinay Chand said, “We are entering a crucial phase and there is going to be a spike in cases. But this is also the time that people start following the prescribed protocols such as wearing mask, sanitising the hands often, maintaining social distancing and staying at home.”

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2020 2:39:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/coronavirus-is-vizag-witnessing-community-spread/article32006234.ece

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