State

Fighting the elusive virus

Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, AUG 8 (NPN) | Publish Date: 8/8/2020 12:27:05 PM IST

A number of new COVID-19 cases in the state, especially Dimapur and Kohima indicate that the virus is no longer confined to quarantine centres and was now out in public domain.

According to a medical practitioner, there are a many patients who are asymptomatic (mostly young people who don’t show any symptoms or who have extremely mild symptoms) but who transmit the virus to others.

Cases have been reported, especially in Dimapur, where contact tracing was done on those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and following them up daily for 14 days from the last point of exposure. 

In several instances, those who were infected reported that they may have contracted the virus at work place or while shopping or in market place but from unknown source. This happened in Guwahati City where several hundreds of COVID-19 patients did not have travel history nor came into contact with COVID-19 patients. 

There is a general sense of alarm among public over the daily report of COVID-19 cases as there has been no cent percent success in tracking and tracing all those who may have been exposed to the virus.

Either of those who have been missed by contact tracing and who may be carrying the virus, would in turn, transmit it to multiple number of other persons.

As per protocol once a person is tested positive for COVID-19 medical authorities begin contact tracing within 24 hours of those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and following them up daily for 14 days from the last point of exposure.

Contact tracing is simplest and most effective when two conditions are met: (a) all cases are symptomatic, and (b) the presence of symptoms is perfectly correlated with the risk of transmitting to others. 

Many people will be getting infected from unknown cases and a large proportion of the population would need to be isolated. Testing and tracing soon becomes an unmanageable strategy.

Contact tracing also requires significant resources and it would also need thousands of people to interview patients, identify everyone they may have come into contact with since being infected, and track down these contacts.

While some medical practitioners are clear that local community transmission is taking place, the state health and family welfare department has dismissed it. The state health & family welfare department maintained that COVID-19 transmission in Nagaland was still through local transmission (Stage 2: when those infected have a travel history or spread the virus to close friends or family. At this stage, every person who came in contact with the infected can be traced and isolated.)

 Some health officials have admitted that undertaking contact tracing of locally- transmitted cases was difficult since it was impossible to pinpoint the source of infection in many cases. This was also a problem even in Kerala, a state that has been the model for containing COVID-19 pandemic. Kerala’s proven track, trace and treat strategy is under deep stress due to this, according to the state’s health officials.

Even in Karnataka, which is currently witnessing sharp spikes of COVID-19 cases, these were initially attributed to people travelling from other states. However, in recent days, the positive cases are being reported from people who have no travel history. Contact tracing will also become unmanageable because transmissions quadruple by geometric proportions that require thousands of health workers.

Health specialists have advised that the real focus should be on protecting the elderly(above 60 and those under 10 years) including those suffering from serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart, respiratory, kidney or liver diseases.

World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned that people will have to still face worse days of COVID-19 while many countries like China are bracing for more waves of transmissions.

 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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