Srinagar Sero-Survey

THE latest seroprevalence study carried out by the Government Medical College Srinagar (GMC) in Srinagar district has revealed that over 40 per cent people living in Srinagar district have developed COVID-19 antibodies. This means that a large segment of the population in the city have been infected by the Covid-19. A serosurvey tests the blood serum of people to identify the existence of antibodies against a Coronavirus infection.

The new study reveals a 3.8 per cent jump in seroprevalence over a similar study conducted in the district in June. The samples were taken randomly from 20 clusters in Srinagar district. In the survey over 40 per cent of the 2,400 persons tested negative but had developed antibodies. Significantly, a higher prevalence of antibodies was found in the female population than males.

But the doctors are skeptical about the herd immunity setting in anytime soon. Herd immunity is expected to occur after a large number of people, usually 70 to 90 per cent, become immune to a contagious disease after being infected by it. So, it will need many more people to be infected by the contagion for people in the Valley to develop immunity. But at the same time it is still premature to say if herd immunity will work against the novel Coronavirus.

Srinagar has so far recorded 19000 infections and 348 deaths making it the worst affected district by COVID-19 in J&K. As of now, the district has 1,651 active cases as compared to 5,300 in the remaining 19 districts of the union territory. J&K, as a whole, has witnessed nearly 85,000 COVID infections so far and 1,455 deaths.

Going forward the situation doesn’t give any confidence. With winter setting in, the number of cases are going to be far too many in near future to be handled by our doctors. More so, when the community transmission has already set in. The situation, we are given to believe, has aggravated after the government took steps to open up the economy. And which is also important. It is not possible for people to remain in a perpetual state of lockdown. This has already wrought havoc with the economy. More so, in Valley which has been under lockdown for the past twelve months. This has led to a loss of employment for thousands of people. The vital sectors of our economy like tourism, horticulture, handicrafts have been hit hard. So, resorting to lockdown is not an option. What the administration can do and which is eminently possible is to create more awareness about social distancing norms and take action against the people and the businessmen who violate it. It is time people are made responsible for their own health. We have to ensure that both life and livelihood are saved.

And to this end, the government will have to run an aggressive awareness campaign about the disease. It has to also work towards involvement of the community by charging village, locality elders, mosque managements etc to ensure people follow the safety precautions. Government should also enlist the youth for the purpose. This will go a long way to make a redeeming difference to the attitude of the people towards the contagion and in turn arresting its spread.

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