Are we headed for community spread?
The number of COVID-19 cases climbed to 1,071 in India on Monday, while the death toll rose to 29. In Jammu and Kashmir the number of positive cases too seems to be rising day by day. On Monday we reported four positive cases from the Valley and three cases tested positive in Jammu region.
Maharashtra has reported the maximum number of eight COVID-19 deaths so far, followed by Gujarat (5), Karnataka (3), Madhya Pradesh (2), Delhi (2) and Jammu and Kashmir (2). Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have reported a death each.
As the coronavirus infection cases in India crossed the 1,000 mark, there are 40 countries which have more people infected. These numbers would suggest that India is in a relatively better, even if still difficult, situation.
But saying so does not make the COVID-19 spread so simple. There are scientists who are saying that over the next two months, the number of infected people in India could cross a million. There are others who assert that community transmission of the virus must already be happening, and these are not getting captured because India has not been testing enough number of people.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has been maintaining that despite the emergence of a few cases for which the original source of infection has not been traced, there is no community transmission happening.
But a medico body, Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) has set the alarm bells ringing in the valley.
The medico body said that the second COVID-19 death in Kashmir valley that was reported from Tangmarg area of north Kashmir had no history of travel or contact, suggesting that it is possible this could be an instance of community spread of the novel virus.
Though this may be the first case to have contracted the infection from community exposure as the man who died, had developed respiratory symptoms few days back and was admitted in Srinagar’s SMHS hospital on Wednesday last. The patient was admitted with symptoms of pneumonia.
As Doctors carried out a test on him he was confirmed as positive for the novel virus and was shifted to the designated COVID-19 center at Chest Disease hospital where he died on Sunday morning because of respiratory failure.
The death of the patient is significant because it means it is possible that the infection is spreading untraced in the local community.
Since, the coronavirus spread has exposed our vulnerability towards the disease it is the people who have to act to defeat this life threatening ailment. The people not only have to act strict on the lockdown but various other measures are also needed. We need to be upright in disclosing travel histories as the valley has witnessed a huge influx of people during the first two weeks of March. The admin too needs to pull its act together and get more people tested for any possible infection.