AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria has said that infected people need not panic as omicron variant mainly affects the upper respiratory tract and airways, rather than the lungs. He said blocking hospital beds in not required for those without comorbidities as effective home isolation is sufficient since recovery time for the latest variant is much faster.
One of India’s top pulmonologists Dr. Guleria added that this is the reason why fewer patients with a drop in oxygen saturation or the other severe symptoms like in Delta variant. Instead, there are symptoms like fever, running nose, sore throat, and body ache as well as headache. Since the omicron variant is highly infectious, If any of these symptoms persist, people should get themselves tested so that they can be isolated if required and prevent the infection from spreading.
A member of India’s Covid task force, Dr Guleria advised not to panic. He also highlighted that country is in a much better position due to high levels of immunity from past exposure and that the second-dose vaccination coverage has crossed 60 per cent.
“The pandemic is not over. Therefore, it is time to be more vigilant” Dr Guleria said while striking cautionary note and simultaneously emphasising that nation is better prepared in terms of facilities this time be medical oxygen plants, ICU beds or ventilators.
Covid-appropriate social behavior such as masking, sanitisation and maintaining social distancing will be the most potent tools in the fight against Covid, while testing will remain the key to arrest the spread. We will have to depend upon vaccination to provide protection against severe disease and mortality, even for omicron infection.
Dr. Guleria warned that indoor events can turn super-spreaders and cause a spike. Covid surge in India is unabated with 16,764 new cases in the last 24 hours, and an active cases nearing one lac at 91,361. There are 1,270 Omicron cases have been detected through genomic surveillance, of which 374 have fully recovered.