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Coronavirus Pandemic

UAE combats coronavirus: Limit going out, don't be a 'superspreader'

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on September 11, 2020 | Last updated on September 11, 2020 at 06.58 am
super spreader, uae, india, korea, covid

(Photo: Shihab/KT)

A so-called "super spreader" is the right person in the wrong place at the wrong time, said Dr Biji Bob Thomas.

On Wednesday, the National Emergency and Crisis and Disaster Management Department (NCEMA) spokesperson cited an example of a Covid-19 patient who spread the infection to three families.

"Despite showing symptoms of the virus, he did not self-isolate and spread it to his wife and 44 others. His callousness also resulted in the death of an elderly relative," said Dr Omar Al Hammadi, official spokesperson for the UAE Government, last week.

Many such "superspreading events" have been reported across the world during the pandemic - in Japan, South Korea and the US to name a few.

A so-called "super spreader" is the right person in the wrong place at the wrong time, said Dr Biji Bob Thomas, internal medicine specialist at Aster Clinic, Abu Shaghara.

"In its widest definition, it refers to a propensity to infect a larger than the average number of people. Scientists haven't narrowed down how many infections someone needs to cause to qualify as a super spreader, but generally speaking, it far exceeds the two to three individuals' researchers initially estimated the average infected patient could infect," she said.

Super spreaders have a greater than average the propensity to infect a larger number of people and important in contributing a second wave, said Dr Payal Modi, specialist medical microbiologist at NMC in DIP Dubai.

"Any infected patient can transmit the virus whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. Thanks to the awareness among people, symptomatic individuals avoid contact with other people and so asymptomatic are the one plays important role in the spread."

Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen, specialist pulmonologist and respiratory medicine at Medeor Hospital in Dubai, added: "Research indicates that between 10 and 20 per cent of the infected people are responsible for 80 per cent of the coronavirus spread.

"Also, a closed and poorly ventilated area increases the chances of infection by 18 times. If there are a large group of people in a room that has no ventilation, chances of spreading are extremely high," he said.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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