COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease), the infectious respiratory condition triggered by SARS-CoV-2 or n-COV i.e. the novel coronavirus strain, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), on March 11, 2020. Also Read: COVID-19: Understanding The Difference Between An Outbreak, Epidemic And Pandemic

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Current statistics indicate that more than 8,50,000 people scattered across 190 countries in the world have tested positive for COVID-19. Moreover, the lethal infection has claimed more than 42,000 lives, with the majority of fatalities occurring amongst the elderly population and those with prevailing chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Although more than 1,75,000 people have recovered from the illness, the coronavirus infectious ailment is still posing a great threat to healthy individuals, besides straining the medical workers and healthcare resources in every country.

An additional cause of worry is the fast pace at which the respiratory illness, COVID-19, triggered by infection of the SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus, is spreading within local communities. WHO has also clearly stated that the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating at an alarming rate and the need of the hour is strictly following preventive measures of social distancing, frequent hand washing and immediately seeking medical care if any symptoms of COVID-19 are experienced by an individual.
COVID-19 4 stages of transmission

However, due to the lack of availability of an effective vaccine or a well-designed treatment approach, this viral disease is bound to assume catastrophic proportions, spreading to various other countries and infecting numerous healthy individuals.

COVID-19 not only causes prolonged episodes of cough, cold, high fever and breathing difficulties, that do not subside with conventional medications but is also a highly infectious disease, implying it can spread from a sick person to a healthy individual, by merely coming in close contact. The mechanism of transmission of the n-COV virus involves air droplets emanated from an ailing patient to a normal human.

In these risky times of rapid coronavirus spread, the best way to stay protected and disease-free, in times of the sweeping spread of this lethal disease, is prevention. Also Read: Coronavirus: Effective Ways To Prevent The Transmission Of This Deadly Virus

Read on, to gain further insight into the stages of coronavirus infectious disease transmission within the community.

The Four Distinct Stages Of Coronavirus Disease Transmission:

Stage 1:

Stage 1 is when cases of infected people are imported from affected countries without any local origin in that particular home city or country. Here, only those who have travelled abroad test positive for the respiratory illness. The disease does not spread locally at this stage. Hence, the number of people infected is also quite a few in number, all of them being afflicted with the disease only due to traveling to other nations wherein the infection has already been triggered in many people.

Stage 2:

This is the stage when local transmission occurs and its source i.e. the infected patient who possibly had a travel history to other already affected countries, is known and can be located. At this stage, people testing positive have come in contact with a patient who has travelled outside the country, most of whom are friends and relatives of the affected individual. They would have come in close contact with the coronavirus patient in situations such as family get-togethers, or occasions where many people gather like in weddings and parties.

Although the number of cases of infected people increases at this stage, it is still manageable to treat the people with the disease as it is still easy to locate them and provide prompt medical care. Home quarantine and social distancing measures help to prevent the progression of the disease to stage 3 of community transmission.

Stage 3:

This is the stage of community transmission and takes place when the source of an individual’s infection can’t be traced and isolated. During this stage, those who have not been exposed to an infected person or anyone who has a travel history to affected countries still test positive for the coronavirus. The outbreak will spread fast in clusters once the community transmission starts.

At this stage of disease transmission, the individuals within a city or community begin to contract the infection randomly, hence making it more challenging to track down all those who could possibly have the disease.

Stage 4:

Stage 4 is the most severe stage of an infectious disease spreading within a country. At this point, there are several clusters of the infection, in many different parts of the country and it takes the form of an epidemic. Massive numbers of people are infected, across all age groups, many deaths are reported amongst the elderly and immune-compromised patients, making it very difficult to control the spread of the disease.

In situations like these, the government officials of the affected country announce stringent legislation, instructing all citizens to stay indoors, enforcing a lockdown, shutting down all public places, banning any gathering of large groups of people. These extreme steps are taken, to avoid further fatalities due to the disease and save the healthy population form contracting the infection.

Steps To Prevent COVID-19 Disease From Spreading Amongst Large Populations:

  • Always wash your hands with soap or a liquid handwash, thoroughly removing all dirt and contaminants.
  • When stepping out to buy essentials, medicines or groceries, use a hand sanitizer to disinfect your hands, as you will be touching many surfaces while buying necessary food items.
  • Cover your nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing.
  • Distance yourself from the elderly, as they are more prone to contracting coronavirus disease, due to reduced immunity as a result of old age.
  • Clean and disinfect your home, especially the frequently touched surfaces like doors, doorknobs, tables to prevent contamination of surfaces with germs and dust particles.