- The second sero-survey in Chennai happened in October
- The results show that the overall COVID positivity in the city is 32.3%
- Nearly one third of Chennai population has been exposed to COVID19: Survey
New Delhi: One in three people in Chennai has been exposed to SARS-coV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the highly contagious disease that has taken lives of more than 1 lakh people in India, reveals the second sero-prevalence survey done in the city in the month of October. The survey has revealed that the overall positivity rate in Chennai is more than the number of those found affected by the virus during the first survey conducted in July.
Highlighting the results of the sero-survey, Greater Chennai Corporation said in a brief statement, “Results of Chennai Serosurvey-II: Serosurvey samples tested – 6,389 out of which 2,062 are positive for IgG antibodies presence with overall positivity of 32.3 per cent.”
The first phase of the survey in the city, with a sample size of around 12,000, had revealed (on September 1) that a fifth of the population (21.5 per cent) in the metropolis had exposure to the pathogen.
Greater Chennai Corporation commissioner G Prakash added, “The increase in the number of people exposed to the virus proves that the city has better immunity now. However, we plan to continue screening and testing in the city at the same rate for the coming few months. With the continuous efforts by the corporation, I think, the rate of coronavirus cases has come down in the recent past in Chennai and we hope, we will continue to bring it down.”
NDTV speaks with an expert Dr Mohamad Rela, Surgeon, Dr Rela Institute Chennai to understand what the new Chennai sero-survey means for the city and India’s COVID-19 fight. Appreciating the work of government till date to contain the spread of coronavirus, he said,
I think, it is good news. We have one-third of the people in the city already exposed to the virus. And from the findings, we have seen most of these patients were asymptomatic. I think, what we all have done, including the government, we are today at a much better place as compared to many other western countries, with respect to COVID-19. When we say 1 in three people already infected, we mean, they have got antibodies and are immune to the virus. If you look at the Tamil Nadu numbers, we have reported 5,000 cases a day for almost two months now. I think, in the month of June only the state faced issues such as shortage of beds etc, but it was contained within few weeks and since then stretched resources has not been a problem in terms of healthcare.
He further said so this slow infectivity rate of the infection and the control of the virus in the city has slowly given the immunity to more and more people, at least in asymptomatic patients. He added,
In two months time, what was one in five has become one in three and we are estimating that in three months time we can double these numbers and we can actually have a situation where 60 per cent of the population is immune.
Backing his statement on why he says that the numbers depict a good picture, Dr Mohamad Rela added,
These one in three people who are actually infected with coronavirus as shown in the sero-survey results will actually help in breaking the chain of the virus. It will bring the severity of the disease down.
Dr Rela also urged people to not stop taking precautions and following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and said,
I am not saying that now people can relax and go about their daily lives just like before coronavirus time, in fact, now is the time we all need to be very vigilant in all our actions. We need to continue taking precautions, we need to protect the elderly population from getting infected.
Speaking about vaccine role and India’s second peak of coronavirus, Dr Rela said,
I think by the time vaccine will come, say in three months time or more, we will not have that much need for it, obviously we need a vaccine and it will have its own role to play, but, population getting infected with the virus like this and more and more people becoming immune will automatically lead to a much safer country. I also, don’t think second peak for India will come, in terms of coronavirus, because more and more people are getting immune with the virus.
India’s Coronavirus Status
India has been seen a marginal improvement in its COVID-19 numbers from past few days. According to the data by the health ministry, in the past 24 hours, both the number of positive cases as well as fatalities have fall a little. India remained second in the global ranking of total cases, though, with over 7.7 lakh cases, behind the US’s 8.4 lakh. Over 1.1 lakh people have died of the disease across the country since the first case was reported in Kerala in January.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.