THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With 100-plus cases reported for the fifth straight day and a rising number of patients with unknown sources of infection pointing at a possible community transmission, Kerala is staring at an alarming situation. While the escalating asymptomatic cases could be an indication of silent spread, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Malappuram have increasing cases of infection due to local contact, which too is a cause for concern.
On Tuesday, Kerala reported 141 new cases and one death, taking the active cases to 1,620. Summing up the situation, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state was expecting a worst-case scenario.
“For the past five days, fresh cases have crossed the 100-mark. Tuesday saw the highest single-day spike. The presence of asymptomatic patients and cases with unknown sources of infection are the most worrying things. The state has a serious situation at hand,” Pinarayi said during his daily press briefing.
The healthcare experts, however, want the government to stop pondering whether community transmission is there or not and instead take steps assuming that it indeed has happened in the state.Pinarayi said that though there is not too much to worry about asymptomatic cases as the rate of virus transmission caused by them are lower than those with symptoms, increasing cases with unknown sources of infection are a concern.The chief minister said that around two per cent of the cases reported in the state falls under that category whereas the national average is more than 40 per cent.
‘Community spread: No more indicators needed’
“Experts say the rate of infectivity of asymptomatic cases is comparatively less. But the state’s scenario is different. Here, most households have the presence of high-risk groups. Thus the caution that we’re taking while venturing out to prevent infection should be replicated at one’s home also,” the CM said.Rajendra Pilankatta of School of Medicine and Public Health of Central University of Kerala said as per the existing signs of infection spread, the state is heading towards the third stage of Covid-19, which is community transmission.
“At present we’ve no evidence to say conclusively that there is community transmission in the state. But there are some indications which point towards that. The key is to implement restrictions and follow the break-the-chain guidelines,” said Rajendra.
Dr Anoop Kumar A S, chief of critical care medicine at Baby Memorial Hospital in Kozhikode, said: “No further indicators are needed to say there is community spread here. The source of infection remains unknown for two per cent of the cases. That is enough to undertake measures to prepare the state to deal with community spread.”