The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2), a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 29 January 2020. Progressively, it was declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020 by WHO.
As of 23 March 2020, more than 2,620,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported all over the world. More than 183,000 people have died of it globally. As reported by the National Institute of Health, the coronavirus can live up to 72 hours on a surface. The Novel Coronavirus invades the tiny air-sacs present in the lungs, creating a respiratory infection. The severity of the infection depends upon the immunity of the infected person. The consequences of the infection can vary in old and young; men and women; healthy and sick.
The term ‘transmission’ refers to the spread of a disease through microbes. Earlier, experts claimed that the virus does not spread through the air. Gravity pulls it down due to its heavyweight; it falls on the ground and sticks to human beings when they touch the surfaces which carry virus over them. However, the claims are being revised now. New studies reveal that the virus is mobile in the air too.
“Community transmission” corresponds to a stage when transmission occurs by interaction within the community, without a traceable source of the infected person. In the case of Novel Coronavirus, the transmission occurs either through direct contact with the patient or by coming in contact with the droplets generated by the sick person. Sieges Surveillance (tracking of the infection by tracing individuals) does not work in this stage.
There are four stages of coronavirus transmission
STAGE1: The stage has patients who have recent travel history to the infected country
STAGE2: This is the stage when a person who comes into contact with those who have come from the infected country, catch the virus.
STAGE3: In this stage, the virus attacks a larger community, and the source of the virus becomes nontraceable. Lockdown is important in this stage.
STAGE4: This is the extreme stage of the viral infection when a major section of the community is under the arrest of the virus. The virus infiltrates the community. The stage represents an epidemic with a large number of deaths, and seemingly no solution.
The first COVID-19 case was reported in the USA on 20 January 2020. Today, US tops with the tenth highest corona mortality cases in the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), reported the first case of community spread coronavirus on 26 February 2020. And the scale has reached 798,602 cases as of 23 April 2020.
All infected countries have strongly committed to nationwide lockdown until the spread of Novel coronavirus halts. Lock-downs, quarantine, curfews, travel restrictions have already been imposed by the governments. Malaysia is one of the latest countries to impose lockdown. The preventive measures which are repeatedly emphasized by WHO include hand washing, masks wearing, and maintenance of social distance. Nearly 60% of corona patients are free of severe symptoms. They are the prime culprits of community spread of the virus. People are afraid of disclosing the information due to the taboos associated with coronavirus and quarantine. It aggravates the spread of the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidelines to save the countries from falling into the ‘Community spread stage.’ The guidelines have been divided into the following ten major areas:
1. National Coordination
2. Risk communication and community engagement
3. Public health measures
4. Case management and health services
5. Infection prevention and control
6. Surveillance and risk and severity assessments
7. National laboratory systems
8. Logistics, procurement and supply management
9. Maintenance of essential services
10. Research and development
Transparency about the knowledge of the spread of the virus is one of the key factors which can pause or at least slow the spread of the virus. Nations across the world have geared up to maximize the penetration of information about the virus to each nook and corner of their territory. An analysis of the community spread risk is being done to prepare for the unpredictable future consequences.
The Washington Post reported that the earlier response of Trump administration was reluctant towards the coronavirus. The only way to discover the community spread is through mass testing. Unfortunately, not all countries are financially sound to go for mass testing. A large number of nations are facing a dearth of testing laboratories and test kits. The community spread at such circumstances will overload the health-centers. United States Army Corps of Engineers have been advised to convert leased buildings into hospitals and health centers.
The response strategy to tackle the virus depends upon the current scenario of the virus in the concerned region. Hundreds of drugs have been tested, but still, the results are unknown. Therefore, public areas are being sterilized, sanitized. Improper monitoring is one of the frustrating things. If there is anyone who can stop the community spread of the coronavirus, it is we. Unless we commit fully to contain the virus by putting all our energies, it cannot be stopped. The public needs to put their confidence into the respective governments and follow their instructions.
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