For every three symptomatic Covid-19 patients, there are 100 asymptomatic patients in Asia, according to analysis by the confederation of medical association of Asia and Oceania (CMAAO).
In India, the stats change to 30 asymptomatic cases to every symptomatic patient tested positive, and 20 go untested. This is because the Indian health system is unable to carry out contact tracing, the social stigma surrounding Covid-19 and the limited understanding of the disease among the population.
The increased spread of cases has been noted in closed environments, crowded places where there is no proper social distancing and lack of ventilation facilities. In India, joint families have been most affected and toilets have been the source of the spread of infection, where there is only one bathroom in households.
In districts, this aspect has come to the fore, as seven to eight residents share one bathroom. Setting up home isolation and treatment facilities in districts has been a challenge due to the limited understanding of the disease, leading to a major caseload on the healthcare set-up.
According to analysis, the virus has behaved in the same manner across cities, districts and countries where the higher viral load, lack of medical intervention and inability to avail medical services in time has led to complications.
Apart from this, co-morbid conditions of heart disease, diabetes, kidney and other organ complications have caused rapid deterioration of the health of Covid-19 patients, leading to death in many cases.
Apart from the lungs, the load of virus has also been found in the heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, and ejected through stools and tears.
Dr K.K. Aggarwal, president, CMAAO, said, “In India, we have moved from community mitigation to individual containment. Wearing of masks and following social distancing have to be followed strictly. Only this is going to ensure that there are no spurts of new cases. The flare-up of cases in pockets is a matter a concern and they will continue to occur if preventive methods are not followed strictly.”
With densely populated pockets in cities and extended urban areas, India has the maximum number of cases in the South Asia region. Bangladesh and Pakistan follow India.
The changing climate has shown that there is no significant cross-reactivity with other respiratory viruses or even other coronaviruses. The risk of co-infection has not been noted in the population which is a good sign as the fight is only against SARS-Cov 2.
The issue of negative testing in a CT scan despite high viral load persists in the region. The study said it is very important that the negative test result is not used to rule out infection.
The doubts over a possible relapse of Covid-19 has been negated, as a study of 108 patients in the region has shown that while the test showed positive, culture for the virus was negative. This means the ability of the Coronavirus to reproduce and replicate itself is not present.
For the region to come out of the Covid-19 crisis, surveillance will play a very important role and outbreaks will mean that challenges will persist.