Corona Virus cases :
India, with a population of 1.3 bn+, has just tested 17,500 people in 53 days – 330 per day, much below the existing capacity of 10,000 per day. There is still ‘sample’ testing going on of people with lung infections, that too just 800 samples nationwide.
The question is – how trustworthy is the number of cases shown, that has led to people becoming over-confident that India has a very low number of cases and the growth rate is not so high as well? Why is ICMR not broadening the scope of testing, when the capacity exists?
As you might be knowing that the government guidelines for testing state that only those people are to be tested who are showing symptoms and who have come from covid-19 infected countries or if they have been in contact with a laboratory tested positive case and are now showing symptoms. The people who have come from foreign countries or have been in contact of a positive case will not be tested if they are not showing any symptoms. They only required to self-quarantine for 14 days. This eliminates a lot of people.
Corona Virus cases
This is the reason only a limited number of tests are being carried. This is also to make sure that not everyone with a fever or a cough comes in to get tested. One would think the government is trying to keep the testing kits for the future.
There is also the thing that we are still in phase 2, according to which the cases of covid-19 positive people can still be backtracked to their source. Phase 3 is when the government won’t be able to trace the source of the infection. If they use too many now, the testing kits won’t be enough in the future.
Another main reason is because we are still in phase 2. There is not a single case that has not been traced back. The government is trying to find all the people and isolating them. With lockdowns and all if they can control it in this phase then it would be the best. Otherwise it would be a big disaster without sufficient hospitals and testing kits and ventilators.
One more thing, as you know majority of the Indian population is rural and without much awareness and without proper healthcare. And once the virus reaches these areas cases are going to pop like mushrooms after rain. This might happen because a lot of people work as house help or gardeners, drivers etc in other people’s house which might test positive if they have traveled outside and it will be very difficult to trace these people and all the people they have met.
Corona Virus cases
The more one waits for the future, the more we are lagging because the production of testing kits is not as exponential as the virus growth. So, it doesn’t make any sense to save kits for now; because we are not nipping the disease at the bud.
Secondly, as you know, this virus is community-spread as well, all over the world and there is no reason that it would not be so in India. So, we need to test people who haven’t had a recent travel history as well. Of course, there must be screening before the testing is allowed. But from what we are hearing, people who have got in touch with a COVID positive patient; but do not show symptoms are also being turned away.
Even the government does not believs the official numbers. In Modi’s address he compared the pandemic to world war 2. And there were just a bit more than 100 confirmed cases then. Even the government knows there is huge difference between confirmed cases and actual cases.