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Could Mumbai's Poor Areas Become Resistant to COVID-19?

时间:2020-08-07 23:42来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]

A recent study of the poorest areas in India's city of Mumbai found that more than half of the people have developed COVID-19 antibodies. It is a sign that some of India's most crowded settlements could be moving toward "herd1 immunity2."

Herd immunity happens when enough people in a community become resistant3 to a disease that its spread becomes unlikely.

People in the slums may be developing immunity but Indian officials are not considering it a possibility for battling the spread of the virus. Officials say it could never be a choice but only a result.

India is a world hotspot for COVID-19. More than 1.6 million people have been infected with the new coronavirus.

The study in Mumbai found that 57 percent of people who had been tested in three slum areas had been exposed to the virus and had antibodies against it. That is compared to 16 percent exposure for people living in wealthier parts of the city.

This result means that the virus has spread more quickly through crowded slums. In these poor areas, up to 10 people live in small rooms, making physical distancing impossible.

Most of the people had no symptoms or showed very mild symptoms. So they were not tested earlier and did not appear in official counts of coronavirus cases.

Ullas Kolthur told VOA that it is safe to believe slums could reach herd immunity "sooner than later." He is a professor at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and one of the scientists who carried out the study on nearly 7,000 people.

Decreasing infections

Although Mumbai is one of India's worst-hit cities, COVID-19 numbers have begun to go down.

Infections in the city's slums which are home to about 5 million people have also shown a decrease in recent weeks, officials say.

The antibodies study was done by Mumbai's civic4 officials, the government policy research group Niti Aayog and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

Kolthur said the results show that population density5 does affect the spread of COVID-19. As long as there is more contact between a population, the spread is high, he said, whether it is because of shared bathrooms or other shared areas.

In Mumbai, officials said they were surprised by the high numbers of people with no symptoms. Researchers also point to the infection death rate of less than 0.05 percent based on the official number of deaths in the slums.

People in Mumbai's slums seem to have a much lower COVID-19 death rate, compared to other people, Kolthur said. "That is also very surprising, one would have expected it to be the other way around." He said it might be because of the somewhat younger population that likely has better disease resistance, which "needs to be further investigated."

Antibody development

A government study carried out earlier in July in parts of the capital, New Delhi, found that one in four people there had developed antibodies.

As the two studies turn their attention to possible herd immunity, the health ministry6 said that such immunity can only be a result in a country like India with a huge population. It said herd immunity comes at a very high cost because it means many people would have to be infected.

Rajesh Bhushan is an officer on special duty in the health ministry. He said that the country must follow COVID-19 safety measures, like wearing face coverings, avoiding gatherings7 and washing hands carefully until a vaccine8 is approved.

Mumbai, like several other parts of the country, continues to enforce strong restrictions9. Some critics say the results of the antibodies studies question the reasoning of social restrictions and should cause officials to restart economic activity.

The Times of India newspaper said in an opinion statement that the two studies' results make "a strong case" for removing restrictions more quickly.

I'm Alice Bryant.

Words in This Story

slum –n. a neighborhood were buildings are in bad condition and people are very poor

hot spot –n. a place where there is danger of infection or fighting

expose –v. to be affected10 by, to come in contact with something like a virus

symptom –n. a change that is evidence that a disease is present

density –n. the number of, for example, people in a limited area

fatality11 –n. a death that results from an accident, disease or disaster


1 herd Pd8zb     
  • She drove the herd of cattle through the wilderness.她赶着牛群穿过荒野。
  • He had no opinions of his own but simply follow the herd.他从无主见,只是人云亦云。
2 immunity dygyQ     
  • The law gives public schools immunity from taxation.法律免除公立学校的纳税义务。
  • He claims diplomatic immunity to avoid being arrested.他要求外交豁免以便避免被捕。
3 resistant 7Wvxh     
  • Many pests are resistant to the insecticide.许多害虫对这种杀虫剂有抵抗力。
  • They imposed their government by force on the resistant population.他们以武力把自己的统治强加在持反抗态度的人民头上。
4 civic Fqczn     
  • I feel it is my civic duty to vote.我认为投票选举是我作为公民的义务。
  • The civic leaders helped to forward the project.市政府领导者协助促进工程的进展。
5 density rOdzZ     
  • The population density of that country is 685 per square mile.那个国家的人口密度为每平方英里685人。
  • The region has a very high population density.该地区的人口密度很高。
6 ministry kD5x2     
  • They sent a deputation to the ministry to complain.他们派了一个代表团到部里投诉。
  • We probed the Air Ministry statements.我们调查了空军部的记录。
7 gatherings 400b026348cc2270e0046708acff2352     
聚集( gathering的名词复数 ); 收集; 采集; 搜集
  • His conduct at social gatherings created a lot of comment. 他在社交聚会上的表现引起许多闲话。
  • During one of these gatherings a pupil caught stealing. 有一次,其中一名弟子偷窃被抓住。
8 vaccine Ki1wv     
  • The polio vaccine has saved millions of lives.脊髓灰质炎疫苗挽救了数以百万计的生命。
  • She takes a vaccine against influenza every fall.她每年秋季接种流感疫苗。
9 restrictions 81e12dac658cfd4c590486dd6f7523cf     
约束( restriction的名词复数 ); 管制; 制约因素; 带限制性的条件(或规则)
  • I found the restrictions irksome. 我对那些限制感到很烦。
  • a snaggle of restrictions 杂乱无章的种种限制
10 affected TzUzg0     
  • She showed an affected interest in our subject.她假装对我们的课题感到兴趣。
  • His manners are affected.他的态度不自然。
11 fatality AlfxT     
  • She struggle against fatality in vain.她徒然奋斗反抗宿命。
  • He began to have a growing sense of fatality.他开始有一种越来越强烈的宿命感。
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