Coronavirus in India: Why community spread doesn’t signify in present scenario?
Four months and coronavirus infection has spread in India to every nook and corner, not sparing any state or Union Territory, except for Lakshadweep islands. More than 1.1 million people have been engulfed by the novel coronavirus in India alone. Andaman & Nicobar Islands has the lowest count in India with over 150 cases now.
Government is still of belief that community spread hasn’t yet started in states and cities. But the scientists across the country are of a contrary stand – community transmission is most definitively taking place in India, but it does not matter now.
What is community transmission or community spread?
Community transmission can be explained in a most simplified way that spread of coronavirus in a particular community or area where it is so widespread that it is very difficult, if not impossible to identify the transmission chain, or that a particular case was infected by which contact. At this time concepts of contact tracing, source and chain of infection, testing, and isolation of identified cases remains of no significant value.
When Covid-19 had just hit India and the cases were being established as the ones who had recently travelled abroad, an elaborate travel history checking made perfect sense. The government released health advisories was rightly timed – stay away from people with travel history. The fact that spread could be controlled due to less case load indicated towards no community transmission. But now with over 1 million cases recorded in country with regular daily spikes the community spread has already happened evidently and now no contact tracing can release any transmission control.
As per the reports released last week by the Health Ministry, about 80% of the total cases in India were concentrated to only 49 districts out of 733 total districts in country, thereby making the “talks of community transmission not justified.”
Scientists and health officials are in no doubt that community transmission is happening. Vineeta Bal, an immunologist said, “You talk to any epidemiologist of any repute, who is outside of the government, and he or she will tell you the same thing. It is a totally untenable claim. It was untenable even earlier, but now…I don’t even know what to say to this.”