Of the 10,561 active Covid positive cases in Bengaluru, civic and health authorities do not know how a staggering 84% of these patients contracted the virus.
Going by health department’s data, contact tracing has all but failed since the source of infection of 8,836 active cases is unknown. While other districts have been specifying if a Covidpositive patient had travel history or was a primary or secondary contact of an infected person, the description for most cases in Bengaluru reads ‘contact under tracing’ since June 26, the time the city began recording new high’s daily.
On the source of transmission being unclear in a majority of cases, a senior IAS officer said, “It strongly suggests community transmission, where determining the source of infection is a challenge. However, the government is analysing the situation and will take a call. Another probability could be data tabulation failure, but this seems remote.”
Senior health officials working with BBMP said two months ago the number of the cases were few and the source could be easily identified.
“There were only three categories then — international travelers, inter-state travelers and symptomatic cases. Interstate and inter-district travelers contributed to nearly 75% of the cases and the rest were symptomatic cases who had turned positive because of primary contact,” the official said.
Now, with restrictions being lifted, finding the source has become much harder since people are free to move around. “We normally spend about four hours with an infected person to find out how s/he contracted the virus, but now it is a challenge,” said the official.
Citing an example of a 51-year-old asymptomatic patient, a senior medical officer at a Covid hospital said: “The man stays with his wife and children and has been working from home. He hadn’t stepped out of his house, nor has his wife. His 19-year-old used to go out to purchase groceries, but the man tested positive. His son was negative. It’s hard to identify the source in such cases.”
A senior health official in the Palike said, “We cannot deny the fact that the number of cases are increasing in the city, but we need to ascertain which stage Bengaluru has reached.”
Dr M Radha Krishna, medical superintendent of CV Raman Hospital, said: “The government and BBMP has been handling the situation well. Cases might rise drastically but once the virus hits a mutation period, the spread will subside and people will start building herd immunity.”
BBMP commissioner BH Anil Kumar said contact tracing for most of the patients was underway and added: “We are trying to do everything to control the spread of the virus.”