Indian Medical Association rings COVID community spread alarm, says situation ‘very bad’

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Amid claims by the government that India’s coronavirus situation is comparatively better than other countries like the US and Brazil, the Indian Medical Association has rung the bell of a morbid situation ahead, and that community spread has started in India.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan repeatedly insisted that community spread of COVID-19 is still not a case while there is hardly any territory in India where the infection has not swept over, including the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Health experts speaking to Indian Express newspaper has slammed the government’s claim as ‘laughable’ and untrue. “Our team is looking at the raw data. And there is clear evidence. There are hundreds of cases in which the chain of transmission is totally absent,” a senior scientist was quoted as saying.

Speaking to Asia News International (ANI), Indian Medical Association Hospital Board of India’s Chairman, Dr. V K Monga said that the growth of the virus in India is now ‘exponential’ he said referring to the daily number of cases that are spiking in tens of thousands.

“This is really a bad situation for the country,” Dr. Monga said, adding “there are so many factors connected with it but overall this is now spreading to rural areas. This is a bad sign. It now shows a community spread.” 

A community spread of a disease means, the number of infected has risen so much that it is impossible to trace the source of the infection, or who is spreading the disease to whom in a community.

In recent weeks, a number of new cases have arrived from India’s rural areas. Adjoining villages around urban hotspots like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu has worried health experts since healthcare access to those areas is poorer than the urban population.

“Cases are penetrating down into towns and villages where it will be very difficult to control the situation,” Dr. Monga further noted.

Indian Medical Association rings COVID community spread alarm, says situation ‘very bad’

The Indian Medical Association, in recent times, have ramped up testing for COVID-19. On last week’s Friday alone, 3,61,024 samples were tested out of the 1,34,33,742 samples all-total, according to reports.

Dr. Monga further said ANI that there are two options to curb the spread of the disease – one, 70% of the population gets immune, achieving a ‘herd immunity,’ and two, immunization.

In the case of the mass immunity against the COVID-19, an immunology expert from London has recently refuted the option as a possibility for the UK and has also warned: “it’s a very deceitful virus and immunity to it is very confusing and rather short-lived.”

Dr. Monga echoed a similar sentiment while acknowledging the nation’s progress for a COVID-19 vaccine. He said: “also, importantly it has to be seen how long this immunity will last because most of the patients are unable to go beyond three months of immunity.”

Last Sunday India recorded a whopping 40,000+ fresh Covid-19 infections, the worst week since the pandemic, Times of India reports. Currently, there are 1,118,206 cases of COVID-19 recorded so far, according to Johns Hopkins University data.