In a recent serosurvey of the slum population in Mumbai's Cuffe Parade area, 605 out of a total of 806 survey participant " an astonishing 75 percent " tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. Carried out between 5-10 October, the serosurvey reveals one of the highest rates reported in the country so far. The seroprevalence study was organised by Eyebetes foundation and BJP Corporator Harshita Narvekar.
In earlier serosurvey figures reported by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), an average of around 54 percent of residents (in August) and 45 percent of residents (in October) were seropositive (had COVID-19 antibodies.)
The report found that less than 1 percent (eight of the 806 participants) of those surveyed reported having been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the past. This could either be because 99 percent of them had an asymptomatic infection or that they weren't willing to share information about an earlier COVID-19 infection.
The statement from Eyebetes foundation doesn't rule out the possibility that many people were unwilling to give information about past infection, or all of them had an asymptomatic infection.
"Total of 31 people did not answer a question on whether they had coronavirus in the past which points to the stigma attached to the virus", the statement read. The report further states that 78 percent of the population between ages 18-40, 74 percent of those aged between 40-60, and 76 percent of those aged over 60 tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies. Seroprevalence among women was 79.3 percent, while 70.8 percent of male participants were found to have COVID-19 antibodies.
"As the distribution of vaccine is now being discussed, these surveys will help us in knowing who should be given the vaccination on priority," Narvekar said, according to a report in Mumbai Mirror. "The number of people with antibodies may be high but still, all should take necessary precautions like masks and social distancing."