8% Patients Led To 2/3rd Of Total COVID-19 Cases In India: What Are Silent-Spreaders & Super-Spreaders Of The Virus?

By Tina Garg

India has surpassed the mark of 6.3 million COVID-19 cases, and the number of deaths will soon touch the mark of 1 lakh. There was a time when there were only a couple hundred cases in the country. So, what led to the exponential rise in the cases?

A recent study has revealed that super-spreading infecters are the major causes of such a massive outbreak of the virus.

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Who Are Super-Spreaders?

A super-spreader is an individual who is more likely to infect a larger population coming in contact with him/her, as compared to any other infected person. In the case of COVID-19, an infected person is likely to infect two-three people on an average.

Super-spreaders, however, can infect more than two or three people if they come in contact with a large population. The reasons why a person can be a super-spreader are still unknown, and the study on the same is undergoing.

The research was led by Mr. Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy. The largest COVID-19 epidemiological analysis conducted in the world, it focused on two Indian states — Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

It involved at least 575,000 people who were exposed to nearly 85,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. As per the results, the percentage of super-spreaders in the total cases came out to be roughly 8%.

8% of the infected people are responsible for around 60% of the new infections. On the other hand, almost 70% of the people do not infect anyone else at all.

Other Interesting Findings By The Study

Super-spreading events are highly dependent on various factors, such as the proximity with the infected person, duration of contact, and ambient conditions. A super-spreader is more likely to infect others in a close, poorly ventilated room.

Close-proximity travel came out to be the highest risk factor for the spread of infection in the country.

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Super-spreading is a cause of concern not just in India, but in several other countries also. Super-spreaders are expected to be responsible for a probable third-wave of coronavirus in Australia.

India, although one of the worst-hit countries by the pandemic, has a low percentage of fatalities. However, the study found that the fatality rate is higher in the people aged 40–69 in India as compared to other countries.

One finding of the study revealed that children are active transmitters of the virus, as opposed to earlier assumptions. They are least likely to die from the infection, but that does not mean that they are not capable of infecting others to the same extent as an average adult.

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Regarded as the “silent-spreaders”, children between 5–17 years of age transmitted the virus to 18% of their close contacts. Hence, the reopening of schools should be kept on halt for as long as a vaccine does not come.

Mr. Laxminarayan also expressed concerns regarding the rise in COVID-19 cases in developing countries, as these countries have poor health infrastructure. Such a rapid rise in cases puts a lot of burden on hospitals and doctors.

How To Ensure Your Safety

To date, there is no way of identifying as to which infected person is a super-spreader and who is not. The best way of limiting super-spreading infections is by isolating an infected person as soon as possible.

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Social distancing measures should be followed at all times without fail. People have become lenient, which is one of the pivotal reasons for increasing COVID-19 cases.

At the end of the day, your safety is in your hands.

Originally published at https://edtimes.in on October 1, 2020.

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