Coronavirus claims its third victim in India, country begins testing for community transmission as cases reach 131

The number of deaths globally has crossed 7,150 now. Of the 180,000 confirmed cases globally, almost 80,000 patients have reportedly recovered.

Myupchar March 17, 2020 17:43:37 IST
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Coronavirus claims its third victim in India, country begins testing for community transmission as cases reach 131

India reported its third coronavirus death today, March 17. The patient — a 64-year-old man — was being treated in Mumbai’s Kasturba hospital. Maharashtra has the maximum number of coronavirus patients in India, at 39. The first two deaths occurred in Karnataka and New Delhi, respectively.

The number of deaths globally has crossed 7,150 now. Of the 180,000 confirmed cases globally, almost 80,000 patients have reportedly recovered from the infection.

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Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that there are more cases and deaths reported in the rest of the world compared to China, which is where the novel coronavirus originated.

Countries in the European Union, the current epicentre of the pandemic, plan on shutting their borders completely to contain the spread of the virus. This means travel from and to non-EU countries will be suspended. At the same time, France, Italy and Spain are in full lockdown - people have been advised not to leave their homes unless absolutely essential.

Flattening the curve 

If you’ve been following all COVID-19 news, you may have come across the phrase “flattening the curve”. This refers to information shared by the US-based Centres for Disease Control, which compares two scenarios - a pandemic outbreak with interventions and one without any intervention.

With interventions like social distancing, better personal hygiene, school and university closures and sanitization of high-touch surfaces in public places, the spread of the virus can be controlled and managed in a better way. Without interventions, we’ll see an exponential growth of cases in a small period - which means there won’t be enough resources like hospital beds and ventilators for the sick. We already saw this happen in Italy earlier this month.

While it isn’t certain that with interventions there will be fewer people infected eventually, the spread will be slower. This will make it easier to track patients, treat them in the best way possible and hopefully have them recover successfully.

Community transmission

The fear in India is community transmission. As of now, the cases confirmed in India are only the ones that were imported and people who were in close contact with them. Community transmission refers to when the infection starts showing up in people who have not travelled to any of the affected countries recently or come in contact with anyone who is known to be contagious.

All 52 ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) centres have started random testing of people who have flu-like symptoms by no travel history or exposure. The results are expected to come in on March 18, which is when we’ll know in which direction India will be headed.

For more tips, read our article on Coronavirus.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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