Omicron: To worry or not?

Chennai: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged the government to announce additional doses of Covid vaccine for healthcare, frontline workers, and immunocompromised individuals amid concerns over Omicron, 21 cases of which have been detected in India so far.

It also demanded that the government expedite the proposal of vaccinating individuals aged 12 to 18 years.

‘At a time when India is limping back to normalcy, this is a great setback. If we do not take adequate measures, we may have a massive third wave,’ it warned.

At a press conference, the doctors’ body said that cases of the latest variant of coronavirus were reported from a number of major states of India, and the tally, which is in double digits, is bound to increase.

Experts also said that Omicron is more transmissible than Delta but less severe. Two weeks since the emergence of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus in Gauteng province of South Africa, it appears that the variant is linked to a smaller proportion of deaths compared with the previous waves of Covid-19.

A much smaller fraction of those admitted to hospital required supplemental oxygenation than during the earlier three waves, according to an analysis of patient records by researchers at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

Though yet early, and with a caveat that the situation may change ‘significantly in the next two weeks’, Fareed Abdullah, author of the analysis, noted: ‘The main observation that we have made over the last two weeks is that the majority of patients in the Covid wards have not been oxygen dependent.’ The report is not a peer-reviewed medical study but a ‘news feature’ on the official SAMRC website.


NT Bureau