Nearly 30% COVID-19 patients were asymptomatic in India: ICMR
After studying several COVID-19 positive cases, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has determined that nearly 30% of the infections in the country were of asymptomatic nature. The development highlights a major problem for healthcare workers and the need to flag and isolate potentially positive individuals and trace contacts more effectively as soon as possible. Here's more about it.
Between January 22 and April 30, 10.21 lakh people were tested for COVID-19 and 40,184 (3.9%) of them were found positive or infected. In the infected group, ICMR noted, 28% of the cases, or 11,251 people, had no symptoms at the time testing. Notably, over 25% of these "asymptomatic individuals" were direct contacts of COVID-19 patients, with 2.8% of them being healthcare workers.
The ICMR study marked as many as 12,810 positive cases as "symptomatic" or those displaying symptoms of some kind at the time of testing. In this category, most (over 60%) reported cough and fever at the time of sample collection, while about 33% reported sore throat and breathlessness and less than 5% had other problems like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The rest of the positive cases were placed by ICMR in the "no specified" category. These individuals were not able to provide specific details of their condition and could fall in either the symptomatic or asymptomatic category. Now, this means that the percentage of asymptomatic cases could be even higher than 28%. The officials also said the same, according to Times of India.
The latest study follows the April 21 one that found 69% asymptomatic cases in 18,601 infections, which were detected from 4 lakh tests. This one uses more data and is likely to be more reliable. It also shows that testing has significantly ramped up lately.
Among other things, the ICMR study, published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, found that most infected people (63.3%) were between ages 50 and 69, while the least infected were kids under 10 (6.1%). In addition to this, men appeared more vulnerable to the virus than women, something that has already been flagged in several studies around the world.
So far, over 1.82 lakh people have been infected by COVID-19 in India. Of these, 86,984 have recovered from the disease while over 5,100 have passed away. Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit state in the country.