What is the most dreaded stage of a pandemic? Well, no brownie points for guessing, it is the community transmission.
Community Transmission And Other Stages Of A Pandemic
There are four stages of a pandemic, starting from imported cases to an epidemic.
Stage 1: Imported Cases
The first stage, before a disease turns into a pandemic, involves imported cases from a country where the disease first originated. In this case, it is China.
Stage 2: Local Transmission
Once the carriers of the disease enter the boundaries of a particular country, the local transmission begins. It means that infection spreads to a particular area and its trajectory is easily traceable.
Stage 3: Community Transmission
Community Transmission refers to the stage where the carriers become untraceable, i.e. the source of contagion becomes unknown. During this stage, anyone can contract the disease without having travelled to the affected areas or contacting the infected persons.
Stage 4: Epidemic
Epidemic diseases occur almost every year in a country. A disease likely becomes an epidemic for a particular country or countries after the pandemic is over. Currently, dengue and malaria are epidemical diseases in India.
IMA’s Announcement On Community Transmission in India
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), on Saturday, officially confirmed the community transmission of the novel coronavirus in India. The association also commented that the situation is ‘pretty bad’ in the country.
Dr. V.K. Monga, the Chairman of the IMA Hospital Board of India, highlighted the exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in India. According to him, there are many factors of concern with regards to the COVID situation in the country but, most concerning of all is the spread of the virus in rural India.
He emphasized the fact that cases are penetrating small towns and villages of India where it will be difficult to control the spread. He hinted at the possibility of these towns and villages becoming the new hotspots.
That is alarming for us, considering the poor health infrastructure in small towns. Interior parts of Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh may be the new hotspots since these have witnessed a surge in cases over the past few days.
IMA’s Statement On Containment Of The Virus
Herd immunity plays a pivotal role in a pandemic. Herd immunity means that a sufficient number of people become immune to a disease so that they become incapable of spreading the disease any further.
What proportion of a population should become immune to a disease to prevent its spread varies from disease to disease.
IMA stated that there are only two ways of containing the spread of novel coronavirus.
- 70% of the population gets infected with the virus and thereby becomes immune to the disease and prevents further spread.
- Immunization is achieved through vaccination.
Dr. Monga also highlighted the concerns regarding vaccination. These concerns range from phases of human trials to the efficacy and side effects of vaccines.
Another important aspect, according to him, is the duration of such immunity because a majority of patients are unable to go beyond three months of immunity. So what after that?
The impact of COVID-19 in rural areas will unfold shortly. Meanwhile, the central government along with the state governments should ramp up their efforts to control the situation.
According to Indian Express, it is immaterial whether the government admits the community transmission or not. Scientists have been agreeing for long on the presence of community transmission in India.
After IMA’s alarming report, Dr. Arvind Kumar from Sir Ganga Ram hospital has also agreed to the presence of community transmission in India, sources suggest.
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