The most challenging thing about containing the spread of coronavirus is not just the fact that it spreads and infects in multiples of hundreds, but the fact that it spreads exponentially and the true numbers will never be known. A 67-year-old woman returning from Kumbh Mela and testing positive is the worst possible confirmation of community transmission.
The woman, who had tested positive in April, has eventually ended up infecting 33 people which also includes 13 psychiatric patients at Spandana Healthcare and Rehabilitation Centre, near Nandini Layout, in west Bangalore.
And this is how it spreads
The 67-year-old woman is a resident of Mahalakshmi Layout and her 40-year-old daughter-in-law is a psychiatrist with Spandana. The daughter-in-law, an asymptomatic patient, had been treating 13 patients in turn. A couple of days after the woman tested positive, the daughter-in-law find out that she too tested Covid positive. The psychiatrist’s contacts were traced in the hospital and 13 patients and two staffers were found Covid positive.
Further testing and contact tracing confirmed the worst fears to be true. After the BBMP officers from Nandini Layout came to the hospital for inspection, it was found to be a cluster case wherein 18 family members of the Kumbh returnee were also found infected. How much damage has actually been done, will never be known. Since the numbers can only be roughly imagined rather than precisely calculated.
Curbing the superspreaders
Even as governments across the world make it a race between vaccination and variants, there is much more than vigilance that’s required to curb the pandemic. If the woman had isolated herself, the super spread could have been avoided. In April itself, health experts cited fears that the then ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar was eventually going to turn into a hotbed of Covid infections across the country. The infected people were further least likely to isolate themselves and take precautions. Last month, 49 people out of 533 who returned to Gujarat tested positive in Ahmedabad.
At the mela site
Between April 10 to 14, over 1700 people tested positive for Covid-19 at the mela site. Medical workers conducted tests to the tune of 2,36,751 over a five-day period at the site. Out of which 1,701 came positive, confirmed Haridwar’s Chief Medical Officer Shambhu Kumar Jha on April 15. A total of 48.51 lakh people took part in the last two days of royal baths, on April 12 and April 14.
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