Hyderabad: Karimnagar saw a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases after people in a village attended a funeral on February 9. Around 33 persons from the gathering tested positive for COVID-19 in Chegurthu village of Karimnagar rural mandal.

Speaking to NewsMeter, district medical and health officer (DMHO), Dr Sujatha said that a person had came to Kothapalli PHC having no sense of smell. "We did the Rapid Antigen Test on him and it came positive. After enquiring about his movements in the last few days, he mentioned that he attended the funeral of a relative in the village," said Dr Sujatha.

After that, the DMHO arranged a mobile medical team to trace the others. People the team has managed to trace were administered COVID tests and till Friday 33 people have tested positive.

Around 134 people from the funeral have been traced from which 16 from the 47 tested on Thursday were positive and 17 from the 87 people tested on Friday tested positive. All who tested positive are under home isolation. They have been provided with a COVID-19 kit by the district medical team.

The DMHO is continuing contact tracing in the area. "We are going to continue with the survey and find every person who had come in contact with the people who have tested positive. We also came to know that few people from the neighbouring village also attended the funeral. We will find and test them," said Dr Sujatha.

Also, the DMHO mentioned that the spread of COVID-19 is in control. "Most of the people who attended the funeral are from the same locality. Also, people who tested positive for COVID-19 till now are also from the same lane in the locality. We believe we will trace all the persons in a few days," said the DMHO.

Meanwhile, Telangana reported 157 new COVID cases on Friday taking the overall tally to 2,97,435 in the state. The state reported zero new deaths on February 19 taking the total death tally to 1,623. The fatality rate in the state is 0.54 per cent which is less than the national average of 1.4 per cent.

Also, Scientists at the city-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) have found that few novel variants of the SARS-CoV-2 are spreading more in certain states, especially in southern India.

"We now have emerging evidence that N440K is spreading a lot more in the southern states. Closer surveillance is needed to understand its spread properly. Accurate and timely detection of the new variants that may show greater infectivity or worse clinical symptoms, including escape from immune response, will be extremely important to pre-empt disastrous consequences," said Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director, CCMB.
In a recent research, the authors explained how different Coronavirus variants gained prevalence in India during last year. One of the variants, the A3i, had mutations that were predicted to make its spread slower.

Physical distancing most effective in curbing further spread

According to scientists, the best way to control potential damage is to exercise extensive genome surveillance and take measures to prevent the spread of new variants as and when detected. While vaccines are helpful, social vaccines such as usage of masks, hand hygiene, and physical distancing are the most effective weapons we have against this pandemic.
"The success in the development and administration of vaccines is promising but other non-therapeutic prevention measures, such as masks and physical distancing will continue to be most effective in curbing further spread of the disease. Lesser spread of the virus also decreases the scope for emergence and accumulation of harmful mutants," said Dr Surabhi Srivastava, the lead author of the study.


Sumit Kumar Jha

Sumit Kumar Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University and Amity University, he has interned with The New Indian Express and CGNet Swara. Sumit has also worked with video production houses in Mumbai as an assistant director in shows like 21 Sarfrosh for Discovery Jeet. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also the contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, human interest and data stories.

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