Are you infected?

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The rising Covid cases across the country have alarmed health experts. What is worse is that the new Omicron variant has made its way through the population and has quickly started to infect the population quickly. While Maharashtra tops the chart in Covid cases, Kerala and Karnataka are not far behind. As of yesterday, Maharashtra reported 12,160 cases while it recorded 11 deaths. As per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the state’s capital had recorded nearly 8000 cases with two deaths. However, a takeaway from this is that nearly 90% of these cases are asymptomatic. It means that they have no symptoms of Covid but they are infected by it.

One begins to question if they have been infected by the virus as a result of this. Asymptomatic cases are those cases where one has the virus but they are not displaying any symptoms. Such patients recover without any help from the doctors or any form of external healthcare.  This can be dangerous for society as they are a carrier of the virus. Researchers are yet to understand how many people infected with Covid will develop symptoms. Different studies have shown different conclusions with some showing 30% of the infected people showing symptoms while some studies showing as many as 81% people being symptomatic. Another problem emerged as the model for the study had to be changed with newer variants such as the Delta and the Omicron variant.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that people who contracted the virus typically develop symptoms after a span of 5 to 6 days. However, in some cases, it can take up to 14 days as well. While we know that symptomatic people transmit the virus, asymptomatic people can transfer the disease as well.

This can be particularly dangerous for society at large because if a person does not know that they are infected, they will not isolate. People who are close to them or who come into touch with them are more likely to become infected. A study suggests that 59% of the virus transmitted came from asymptomatic people. However, these figures are inaccurate as they took place before the Delta variant became dominant.

But the question remains, how would a person know if a person is asymptomatic or not? The only answer is to get a Covid test done. However, another question arises, why a person would get a test done if they are not displaying any symptoms? A person has to get a test done if they have come into contact with a Covid positive patient and they ought to isolate themselves as they can spread the virus to other people knowingly or unknowingly.

With 90% of cases in Mumbai being asymptomatic, it would be better for the BMC to conduct Covid tests of every citizen in the city. At least with the city-wide data, the BMC will be able to handle the crisis in a better manner as they can come up with policies accordingly. While the majority of cases are turning up asymptomatic, people still should follow the Covi-19 protocols and should take the vaccine as soon as possible.

References: The Indian Express, India.com and Medical News Today.

Parimal Saraf

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