Coronavirus Transmission: Why Clusters, Hotspots Pose A Challenge
Nizamuddin in Delhi, where the Tableeghi Jamaat organised an Ijtemah, or a gathering, highlights the kind of nightmare a cluster or hotspot scenario of COVID-19, presents for the government.
Nizamuddin in Delhi, where the Tableeghi Jamaat organised an Ijtemah, or a gathering, highlights the kind of nightmare a cluster or hotspot scenario of COVID-19, presents for the government. Cluster outbreaks pose a challenge because of the difficulty created by contact tracing.
In the case of the Nizamuddin religious gathering alone, the estimated number of people are being put by media outlets vary between 2000 and 8000. The numbers, in themselves, point to how mammoth the task ahead is.
The Centre, in coordination with the states, is now mapping the trail of the Markaz event attendees. This is the other and most difficult aspect of containing a cluster outbreak.
Tracing all those who attended the Ijtemah in Nizamuddin organised by the Tableeghi Jamaat and then establishing a trail of all the others who they would have come in contact with, is the biggest hurdle of the task that lies ahead for the authorities.
Inevitably, the pressure such rapid cluster outbreaks put on our overburdened healthcare system. The Delhi government has already earmarked five hospitals exclusively for COVID-19 patients. Other state governments may follow suit. This would naturally mean more doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, PPE equipment, ICU facilities, hospital beds, ventilators—the list is a long one. The most dangerous aspect of cluster outbreaks are two-fold—their rapid spread—and the agonising choices doctors are forced to make on who deserves to be treated on a priority basis, sometimes leaving others to die.
Clusters may break out elsewhere in the country posing a threat to authorities in terms of keeping the spread in check. Bhilwara in Rajasthan, Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Meerut in UP, Kasaragod and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, are being seen as hotspots on which the authorities are keeping a close eye. Erode and Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu and Mumbai and Ahmednagar are also under the lens of the state governments.
All states are now engaged in the task of tracing the attendees to the Ijtemah organised by Tableeghi Jamaat in Nizamuddin. The next step for states, more than 18 across the country, would be to conduct contact tracing and map the trail of both the attendees and their contacts.
Meanwhile, the Tableeghi Jamaat Markaz in Delhi has been cleared and the sanitisation process is on. 2100 people, who were inside the 6 floor building, were evacuated. The Crime Branch attached to Delhi police has lodged an FIR against Maulana Saad of Tableeghi Jamaat, who is said to be untraceable and others.