Hyderabad: The majority of people in Telangana state will get infected by the coronavirus, director of health services Dr G Srinivasa Rao warned on Saturday.
“But 80 per cent of the infected population will not have symptoms. The rest of the people will have mild, moderate symptoms and some, particularly those with co-morbidities and the aged, are likely to develop severe symptoms,” Dr Srinivas Rao, in-charge of the state’s battle against COVID-19, told reporters at a press conference here.
“Telangana state had 20,462 cases till July 3 of which 13,534 were detected in June. This shows that people are moving after the lockdowns have been lifted and with them the virus is moving too. Our containment efforts and surveillance are on but the movement of people is leading to an increase in cases,” he said.
The likelihood of the spread of COVID-19 in nearly the entire population is not unique to the state but is a national and global trend, especially in densely populated areas. “This trend will continue. The cases will increase. But the good thing about our state is since that March-April, we have been setting up testing facilities, improved hospital management, stepped up case management, and surveillance management,” the director of health services said.
“Once the country is opened up, we cannot stop. We have to see not just the health of the people but how they are going to live rather than how many are dying from disease. There may be more dying from hunger than disease. This should be remembered,” he said.
With respect to contact tracing, Dr Srinivas Rao said this process was going on but it was not possible to locate every contact of a person identified as Covid-19 positive. “We conduct an epidemiological interview and find out where the person went and with whom he or she may have met. The process takes into account the amount of time spent vis-à-vis infection possibility,” he said. “The population will be infected. We cannot stop it.”
The health department and the government are focusing on the 20 per cent of the vulnerable population, and has made sure there are facilities to treat them. “We have stepped up our surveillance since April of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illnesses (SARI). Surveillance is a continuous process,” he said.
Home isolation of COVID-19 patients has been a major part of the disease management. After Delhi, Telangana state has the most number of COVID-19 cases in home isolation. “We have had 12,000 such cases so far of whom 6,752 are in home isolation. Every day, about 1,000 people are completing their isolation protocols but we are advising them to continue for a week more as a matter of precaution,” he said.