Communicable period for coronavirus may continue after patients recover: Book

New Delhi, Apr 5 () While infected people sneezing, coughing and sniffling can spread COVID-19, it appears that the communicable period for the coronavirus can start before a person falls sick and may even continue after they apparently recover, says a new book.

"A person may get infected but may not fall sick for several days and may appear healthy. These apparently healthy people need to be monitored not only for their own safety, but also to prevent transmission of infection to others," say the three authors who are medical experts.

While sick people sneezing, coughing, sniffling and excreting out virus cause most coronavirus infections, it appears the communicable period for the coronavirus can start before a person falls sick and may even continue after they apparently recover, they say.

"The Coronavirus: What You Need to Know about the Global Pandemic" is written by internal medicine specialist Dr Swapneil Parikh, clinical psychologist Maherra Desai, and neuropsychiatrist Dr Rajesh M Parikh and is published by Ebury Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.Advertisement

The publishing house said for the first time it is releasing a superlead title book in e-format before its subsequent launch in physical form in the market.

According to the authors, current estimates of the incubation period of COVID-19 range from one to 14 days, with most cases occurring approximately five to six days after exposure.

"Therefore, exposed individuals are quarantined for two weeks from exposure (the maximum incubation time). The incubation period explains why people exposed to infection on a plane don't fall sick right away.

"They may wind up in countries all over the world while they are still in the incubation period. They may infect many other people in their destination countries," the book says.

The incubation period leads us to another important concept: contact tracing, the authors say."Contact tracing needs to be done meticulously; a single missed contact can spread the disease. Contact tracing and disease control can be difficult in the example of infection spreading on a plane because passengers may have reached different countries and an infection can rapidly spread across the world," they assert.Advertisement

According to the authors, some sick people act as super-spreaders, infecting a large number of other people, but recent evidence proves that the coronavirus can also be transmitted by apparently healthy people.

"These infected people appear healthy; they are asymptomatic, but they can still infect others. Children get infected but are asymptomatic or have very mild disease, but they can spread the infection to their vulnerable grandparents," they say.

COVID-19 has demonstrated a darker side of threats to health; inequality in healthcare access results in the impoverished bearing the brunt of disease, the book says.Advertisement

"COVID-19 is likely to overwhelm the world's impoverished countries and people, but that is hardly the only threat they face. While we, somewhat leisurely, speculate about the effects of this dangerous new virus, there are billions of people who worry about diseases far long ago banished from more privileged lives," it says.

The authors feel that while the battle against COVID-19 rages on, it is likely that many will perish silently, unattended and forgotten, due to preventable and treatable diseases.

"While we worry about COVID-19, there are mothers dying in childbirth, children dying for want of food and clean water, and the poor die knowing that there is a cure they can't afford," they say. ZMN RDSRDS