Contradicting Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s statement on Thursday that there was no community transmission of COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu, virologists say this mode of virus spread had been happening in the State for months. Not acknowledging it would only give false confidence among the public, which could prove dangerous in the longer run, they say.
“Not telling the people the truth would lead to the public believing that the government has the names of all positive cases who are either in hospital, under quarantine or home isolation. This will result in people believing that they can go out and interact with others without masks, which could only lead to further spreading of the virus,” he cautioned.
On the other hand, if the public is warned about the State currently being under community transmission, it will result in people being much more cautious about venturing out of their homes and will always wear masks and maintain social distance to ensure that they do not get infected, Dr John said.
Echoing his view, Dr Anantha Raghavendran, virology head of Vellore’s Naruvi Hospital added: “Saying there is no community transmission could be an understatement. If community transmission is spreading the virus from one person to another, then yes, Tamil Nadu is in community transmission stage.”
Asked about the efficacy of anti-COVID 19 drugs like Fabiflu and Covifor which have reached the market in Tamil Nadu, Dr Jacob John said both were RNA polymerase drugs meant mainly for use against the HIV virus. “They can tackle viruses. And as COVID-19 is a virus, the drugs will be effective in moderately ill patients whereas those who suffer from a heavy virus load will have to opt for plasma replacement medication,” he opined.
“Both drugs have to be administered under supervised, controlled conditions, as their efficacy is yet to be officially proven through dedicated trials,” Dr Raghavendran added.
Meanwhile, though Fabiflu reached Vellore a couple of days ago, it has not been issued to local medical shops, said wholesale pharmaceutical distributor M Kalaiarasu. “The drug will be given to shops only after shopkeepers produce the informed consent form signed by both the doctor and the patient or her/his representative,” he added.