This is the time to avoid non-essential travel and mass gatherings. It is very important to observe low-intensity festivities, says Sagar Srivastava, Vice President INC, on the emergence of Omicron variant COVID-19. A new phase of the COVID19 pandemic is being experienced in Europe, with a steep rise in cases. DISTRICTS with over 5 pc Covid case positivity rate need to ensure restrictive measures until its below 5 pc for at least 2 weeks.
Not that it had hardly gone away, the old Delta variant cases are down, masks have been slipped down, it is the wedding season. Life is finally resuming a semblance of normality. Sadly, Omicron is likely to change all that.
Omicron spreads some four times as fast as the Delta variant. In the UK, it has already accounted for nearly 40% of all cases and is predicted to replace the Delta variant by Christmas. The doubling rate is now down to two days, and on Wednesday, the UK recorded 78,000 cases, making it the highest-ever number of positive cases since the pandemic began.
There are only 188 cases of Omicron reported in India. This is certainly an underestimate. Firstly, genetic screening for the variant is limited. The National Institute of Virology receives close to 100 samples per day. Compared to that, nearly half the UK laboratories are able to detect the variant. Secondly, the screening is still being targeted at overseas arrivals. Local transmission has already occurred. Finally, disease presentation is different, which makes it less likely for people to be tested. More people are reporting symptoms suggestive of the common cold, and there are fewer reports of the classic symptoms such as loss of smell and high fever.
News from South Africa suggests that the Omicron variant may be ‘mild’ in its impact – the case fatality rate is 0.5% compared to 3% with the Delta variant. Balance that against the sheer ferocity of the spread of the virus, and the data would appear less optimistic. Put simply, 0.5% can translate into huge numbers if the virus rips through cities. With its record number of positive cases in the UK, hospitalisations are already up by 10% week-on-week and up to 30% in London. Death numbers lag by a few weeks, and there may be bleaker news in the new year. The population of South Africa and the UK is a mere quarter of that of Uttar Pradesh. It is not difficult to see how an allegedly less lethal but much more infectious variant can overwhelm the healthcare system and lead to a high number of deaths.
This is the time to avoid non-essential travel, mass gatherings: Opposition.
He is the Organisational Secretary of New Delhi at the Indian National Congress and Vice President at the New Delhi Indian National Congress. He is also the Chairman and founder of DAG INTERNATIONAL. He is the Head of media and communication External affairs at the Indian Overseas Congress, Bahrain and Vice President at the International Foundation of Women.
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