Over 76% of COVID-19 patients in State are asymptomatic
Over 76% of the total 753 positive patients (till May 8) have been asymptomatic in the State, according to data from Karnataka COVID-19 War Room. Over 50% of these cases have been discharged after recovery.
According to the data, out of the 753 cases reported in the State till Friday evening, 574 have been asymptomatic. While Mandya has the highest number at 96.42% (of 28 cases, 27 are asymptomatic); North Karnataka districts of Vijayapura, Belagavi, Bagalkot, Bidar and Kalaburagi have asymptomatic cases above 79%.
Of the 163 cases in Bengaluru, 105 are asymptomatic. Almost all the eight children in the COVID ward of Emergency and Trauma Care Centre in Victoria Hospital apart from several other patients aged above 60 and even two pregnant women who delivered at the COVID ward on Friday and Saturday are asymptomatic. In Mysuru, 68 of the 88 cases have been asymptomatic.
While asymptomatic cases have become a cause of concern among the community — given that they can spread while showing no symptoms and move freely —doctors attributed it to early detection, even before the symptoms start showing up.
C.N. Manjunath, Director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Chest Diseases, who is also the nodal officer for lab testing in the State’s COVID-19 task force, said symptoms may not show up in those who have a stronger immune system.
“Some patients may have mild symptoms such as headache, fatigue, malaise and bodyache as in any other mild viral illness. But as these symptoms are in tolerable limits, such patients may not complain,” he said.
Stating that it is a challenge to clinically identify such asymptomatic patients, Dr. Manjunath said the only way to detect such patients is to take up random tests, especially among the vulnerable and susceptible population.
He said random tests should also be done in the green zone areas. “If positive cases are detected there, then it speaks of community spread,” he said.
V. Ravi, Senior Professor and Head of Neuro Virology at NIMHANS, who is part of the COVID-19 Analysis Committee, which is tasked with identifying how the disease infects people, said the term “asymptomatic” COVID infection is a myth. “It all depends on how the patient’s history is recorded. Usually, patients with a strong immune system will be able to handle the virus and such patients will only have very mild symptoms, which they feel is not worth reporting and hence they are not recorded.”
There is a small percentage of patients who do not have any symptoms and this is because of their strong immune system, he said.