Not a long post. Just sharing sadness at the resurrection of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. We seemed like we were doing so great. For the past month I, even with all my paranoia, started to feel hopeful that it was safe to step out again and interact with others outside of my little family bubble.
Turns out that I was wrong and that it's looking more and more likely that there's a chance of community spread of the disease in Sri Lanka.
During the weekend it was reported that a lady working in a garment factory tested positive for COVID ; she was our first in-the-community case since the Kandakadu outbreak. A short while later it turned out that several of her co-workers also tested positive. A lot of people started to wonder where she had got it from and were basically treating her as a patient zero of sorts.
As of today though, the cluster from that factory is 567 large. I don't think the lady who tested positive is patient zero. What's scary here is that with this many infected, it's entirely likely that we aren't looking at a single source of infection either. It's more likely that there have been multiple infections from outside the factory and there's going to need to be a lot of contact tracing to find out where that came from.
This all seems to come back to a problem of inadequate testing. Multiple people I know have had coughs and fevers and were not tested for COVID . They visited their doctors, got treated for a common viral or flu, and just went about their lives. This doesn't mean they had COVID . But it does mean we don't know. I maintain what I said about COVID though. If we had wild out of control community spread, our hospitalization rates would have showed it. But it hasn't so far. So either Sri Lankans are magically resistant to the virus, or we are following a trend of finding clusters as they pass a certain threshold. My bet is on the latter — we followed this trend with the naval and Kandakadu clusters — and my only question is, was our threshold much larger this time because we didn't do testing. The lady in question who tested positive was set to go home but for reasons that are still unclear to me, a COVID test was run on her and she showed up as COVID positive. Without that test, we'd still be living in what we thought was COVID free Lanka.
Right now, we are all in wait and see mode. We are following health guidelines. We aren't going out and meeting anyone. I won't be going to see my parents till we have a better picture of the current scenario probably. And though I finally received my racing skates, I don't think I'll be going out to train — despite being the only one on the track at the time I go. It's a sucky energy sapping feeling. My mind is fretting about how large this cluster is going to turn out to be.
So I thought I'd turn to my blog and unload some thoughts here. Here's hoping the cluster is more contained than we think and that we pull through this without much more trouble.
Posted on October 06 2020 by Adnan Issadeen