CHENNAI: The COVID-19 test positivity rate in Chennai has come down to 3.6 percent and remained below five percent post Deepavali.
According to experts, a positivity rate below five percent means the spread has been efficiently contained, while they also say that the city may not see another spike again.
Former director of public health Dr K Kolandasamy said the city may be near herd immunity by February next year.
“By now, people’s exposure to the virus may have increased and the source of the spread too is being identified and treated. The virulence may not be there and the spread would taper down,” he said.
The Chennai Corporation kept COVID-19 tests close to the 10,000 mark since Deepavali, barring a few days. Officials said the sustained testing has resulted in the spread being contained.
“Sustained testing has paid off. Moreover, we also held fever camps amidst the heavy rains during Cyclone Nivar,” a corporation official said.
Presently, the city is recording just below 400 cases a day while the number of people getting discharged is more than the fresh cases. The active cases are now at just 1.6 percent while the case growth too is negative in the city.
Officials said testing would continue even when the cases come to zero. “Surveillance would continue in areas such as airports, railway stations, bus stops among other places where there is movement and travel from outside the city,” the Corporation official added.
However, despite the decrease in cases, health experts warn that elderly people must continue to stay at home at least until February.
“Cases may keep coming in the secluded areas while the spread may hit a dead end in the crowded urban areas,” said Dr Kolandasamy, adding that it may take up to one year for the virus to fully taper out and people must stay cautious till then.
He also said that since the infection does not spread through mosquitoes and water, the virulency would eventually reduce once a sizable population is infected.
Meanwhile, several Corporation zones reported just one percent active cases lately and the deaths too have dropped below 10 in the city. Officials said that sustained testing would continue with the same number of daily tests.