The dawn of the new year ignited hope across India. It seemed the country had managed to come out of the grip of the worst surge yet of the pandemic. But the surge has started again. For the last few weeks, India has witnessed an alarming spike in COVID cases. Just a few weeks ago, the average positive cases per day in J&K was below hundred and now, in a few weeks, it is increasing drastically. At the national level, the average daily positive cases had come down to less than eight thousand, which now averages close to three lakh daily cases.
Two months ago, the new variant of Coronavirus was discovered in South Africa. Omicron is also a part of the viruses of the CORONA family which has now travelled in many countries across the continent. It has a property of mutation in the cells as they change their structure to escape the body’s immune system. Though this variant causes milder diseases, the transmissibility is very high. The peculiar thing about this virus is that it has a very high number of mutations in the spike protein, to which all the vaccines available right now are reducing the antibodies.
As per health experts, the transmissibility of Omicron is more than the previous Corona variants. In terms of hospitalisation and casualties, the figure is low. The available data suggests that the percentage of the patients who were hospitalised with the Delta variant is 20 to 25 per cent of total patients. In comparison, only five to 10 per cent of the patients affected with Omicron are getting admitted inside the hospitals.
Though Omicron may not be causing severe diseases like the Delta variant, the transmissibility is much higher. Omicron can affect huge numbers because of its high infectivity. So we have to be extremely cautious. We need to follow all COVID protocols, including using face masks, hand sanitisers, avoiding social gatherings as much as possible, and maintaining social distance. Following the COVID-19 protocol is the only way by which we can reduce the pace of transmission of the virus. Another important thing to be followed is COVID vaccination. The vaccination has already started for the kids above the age of 15 years, frontline healthcare workers and those with comorbidities, so whosoever has taken their last vaccine dose nine months ago should come forth to take the precautionary dose so as to amplify their immune system. This way, we can defeat the virus.