Hyderabad: Asymptomatic Covid positive patients continue to drive the ongoing second wave of Covid infections and challenge the containment strategies of public health officials. In Telangana, 75 per cent to 80 per cent of cases are asymptomatic, which has played a big role in the spread of Covid infections during the second wave.
Due to the risks involved in engaging with asymptomatic Covid patients, for the past few months, senior public health officials in Telangana have been consistently urging people to wear masks and follow physical distancing. In fact, authorities had urged people to wear two-layered masks even inside their homes just to prevent infecting the elderly and other family members.
A majority of the asymptomatic Covid positive cases that are reported in the State are below 40 years of age. In fact, individuals between 10 years and 40 years form close to 53 per cent of the Covid infections in Telangana. A large number of asymptomatic individuals, who are unaware of their Covid status, might inadvertently end up infecting others. To avoid such possibilities, health officials have urged the public not to venture out if possible and in case it is avoidable, then wear a mask.
On its part, the Indian Task Force of The Lancet Covid-19 Commission has also recommended universal masking to stop new Covid infections. “We strongly recommend a renewed call for universal, mandatory mask-wearing in all confined, indoor spaces as well as outdoors, especially in crowded areas. We recognise that cloth masks by themselves offer only partial protection, and call on expanded use of well fitted N95 or double masking with surgical and cloth masks, especially in high-risk settings,” Indian public health researchers in The Lancet said.
Another way to avoid getting infected by asymptomatic Covid-19 positive cases is to avoid large gatherings at any cost. “Large gatherings, especially indoors, bring different kinds of people together in proximity. Such gatherings help spread the virus as people return home, raising prospects of spreading infection along the journey and back in their home community. We recommend a complete ban on gatherings of more than 10 people at any given place,” researchers in The Lancet said.
What public must do?
- Physical distancing and hand hygiene should be a way of life
- Mandatory mask-wearing at all confined, indoor, outdoor spaces and crowded areas
- Use N95 masks or double masks by combining a cotton mask over a surgical mask
- Cross ventilation at offices, shops, transport hubs is mandatory
- Avail vaccination whenever it is available
- Avoid family gatherings or places where there are more than 10 people
- Covid is known to spread indoors effectively, hence avoid schools, office buildings, restaurants with indoor dining, shops and shopping malls, at least for 6 to 10 weeks
- Vaccination will take at least two months to develop protective immunity
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