97% Covid-positive patients are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic
Maharashtra recorded 150,658 active Covid-19 cases till Sunday afternoon, of which 97% are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. Only 2% are critical and 1% are on oxygen support, show data from the state health department.
For the last 10 days, the state has reported 7,000 new Covid-19 cases on an average, daily. This has pushed the cumulative number of infections in the state to close to 450,000 cases – the highest in the country. But doctors are relieved as, at present, only 3,111 patients are critical and undergoing treatment in intensive care units (ICU).
Experts claim this is a good sign because chances of the spread of infection from asymptomatic patients are less. “The infectious period of the Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19, in symptomatic individuals may begin within two days. It persists for over 10 days after the starting of symptoms. But in asymptomatic patients, the chances of transmitting the virus are less as these individuals don’t sneeze or cough. So, having more asymptomatic patients helps to break the chain of infection,” said Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer.
Most patients are identified through contact tracing. Dr AR Gita, district health officer (DHO) of Aurangabad, which recorded 4,943 active Covid-19 cases till Saturday, said, “We have appointed teachers and local volunteers to trace close contacts of those infected. It is done in two ways. The teachers call them regularly to check on their health. If anyone complains of symptoms, we immediately test and isolate them. If we fail to track them, our local medical volunteers visit them at home. This has helped in early diagnosis and isolations.”
Till Saturday, 2,011 patients with oxygen saturation is below 95% were kept on oxygen support in hospitals. “We have seen that people between the age group of 31 and 40 are prone to Covid-19. As this is a younger group with higher immunity, they often don’t develop symptoms, and gradually recover,” said Dr Awate.
A similar trend has been noticed with the rapid antigen testing in Mumbai. Rapid antigen testing helps to identify antigens of Covid-19 in the body within 30 minutes. As HT reported earlier, almost 90% of the close contacts of infected patients who undergo rapid antigen testing are identified as silent carriers of the virus