When the pandemic started, the whole country was talking about community transmission and how India does not have it. All the news channels were covering constantly about this topic. But now when we feel that community transmission has taken place and has eradicated the country, we don’t see any news channel or any government official commenting about that. Do the people only talk about propaganda and never the real news?
We have been constantly focusing on community transmission because it is also highlighted by various researchers that it is impossible that India did not have community transmission back in April. If more than two lakh people have it, it is a clear-cut example of community transmission. India had to re-evaluate its strategy and test more people according to the World Health Organisation. The whole concept about testing those who had symptoms and who came back from some foreign place was very vague. The situation evolved so rapidly that currently we have more than 10,000 cases every day. We had to scale up emergency response mechanisms and isolate more people. This is how we could have prevented it with the truth and not with news about publicizing the lockdown.
When the lockdown came into effect, people were only talking about that and how good the government is doing right now. When there were at a hundred cases, a countrywide and nationwide lockdown was imposed. Look at the situation right now, with more than 10,000 cases every day, we are at the stage of unlocking.
The ICMR has been constantly saying that there is no community transmission in India. But with real-time examples and research, we got to know that various colonies in Delhi have been infected with the coronavirus. If 80% of people have a mild disease, testing only 5% of patients does not do any good. The rest will be spreading the disease as it happened in China, Italy and the United States of America. All the cases had to be tested at that time so that a situation like this wouldn’t have come up. The private sector was supposed to go on a boom before the government sector but with the large number of restrictions involved, this could not happen. Random testing of the population is what the country needed at that time.
But the truth is, all we did was light diyas, bang bartans and what not. People were told to divert their mind from the real-time issues to the fancy things coming with the pandemic. Speeches were made about Aathma Nirbhar Bharat and how we are at a good stage right now. We were being compared to the developed nations of the country who were under the dark effect of the virus. Rather than all these comparisons, had to be looked at our own state at the right time, a stage like this wouldn’t have happened. Community transmission was the word that was feared by everyone. This is why this word was never publicized and was always talked about in a positive way.
The joint secretary in the health ministry said that the word community has been used in a limited context. He said that nowhere we have said that there is a community transmission. India is still in a local transmission stage.
But the crux of the whole situation is that community transmission started long ago. The whole pandemic was important for the people to understand that instead of looking at the positives, we must look at the real-time issue that is happening. Even if the people in power are trying to misguide us and make us look at the other aspect of the problem, we cannot ignore the main issue. The ICMR has also told the media to not go overboard with the things and over-interpret them. The truth is that, no matter what happens, the facts and figures point out one thing and that was actually hidden from the public to date.
In leading researches, it has been found out that various villages are filled with infected people and they are not being tested because they do not show the symptoms. There is no testing being done for asymptomatic carriers. These are the people who are actually leading the community transmission. Now what we all can do is stay at home and try to stay safe. The public must not take advantage of the removal of the lockdown. We can look at the facts and the figures ourselves and understand how deadly the situation has become. News about re-imposing the lockdown has been trending. This might be a hoax but we hope that something like this happens very soon so that we all can be urged to stay indoors again.
According to a leading news channel, had the government of India consulted with epidemiologists at the right time who had a better grasp of the disease transmission dynamics, it would have perhaps been better served. From the limited information available in the public domain, it seems that the government was primarily advised by academicians and clinicians with limited field training and skills. India is paying a heavy price both in terms of the humanitarian crisis and the crisis related to the economy.
Concealing facts does not take anyone to a good place. This is what we have understood till now and this is what the nation needs to know. The definition of community transmission does not only restricted to visible cases. There are various people who are roaming on the streets with the virus and it themselves don’t know about it. With thousands of people out on the streets, people walking to go home, people being packed in trains, and being sent home, how is it possible that community transmission did not happen way before this time?
Community transmission does not only lead to more infected people, but it also leads to infecting those people who are prone to other diseases. It targets the weakest people and infects them.