Vigilance necessary for 2-3 weeks, says Paediatric Pulmonary Medicine expert on Omicron variant
People should not panic, as initial reports suggest that the Omicron is a milder variant of COVID-19, said Dr Dhiren, Deputy Director, Paediatric Pulmonary Medicine and Intensive care, Gangaram Hospital.
People should not panic, as initial reports suggest that the Omicron is a milder variant of COVID-19, said Dr Dhiren, Deputy Director, Paediatric Pulmonary Medicine and Intensive care, Gangaram Hospital. However, while speaking to ANI, the doctor said that people need to be vigilant for at least the next two three weeks as the variant can turn out to be more severe than predicted in initial reports, "similar to what happened in case of the Delta variant".
He also emphasised the need of following COVID Appropriate Behaviour and said that it is the baseline that we need to understand. Dhiren also said that those viruses that produce mild symptoms spread more because once there are milder infections, people roam around and leading to more infections.
"Once one is suffering from a severe infection, they require hospitalisation. When we talk about a milder infection, I am concerned about asymptomatic cases that require hospitalisation, oxygen, and steroids," he said. The doctor further noted that the pediatric age group, that has not received COVID-19 vaccine doses could turn a weak link in preventing the spread of the virus.
"Children not getting vaccinated can probably be the weak link in fighting from COVID-19. We have delayed our vaccination for children. Our policies debarring them from vaccination can backfire on us. We need to think before sending them to school," Dhiren said. Highlighting the difference vaccination can have, the doctor said, "I always feel that those who are vaccinated, shouldn't worry about symptoms.
"Vaccination is going to provide some relief. Vaccination will benefit us regarding how many symptoms you're going to produce. So, my feeling is that prevention is vaccination," he said. The doctor suggested that, for the next one month, all should cancel their commitments which can lead to overcrowding and should think of it as a "personal lockdown situation".
Sharing his personal view on the possibility of a third wave because of the Omicron, Dhiren said, "it is going to be different from the second wave because most of the people either got infected in the second wave, or they have got the vaccine or both. So 99 per cent of the people either got an infection or the vaccine. So they have the immunity." Reiterating the need to be vigilant for the next two weeks, the doctor said that it will give us some idea on whether the new strain has more potential to spread or more potential to invade the lungs and to cause pneumonia.
"Theoretically, if you look at the virus, it has got all the potential to invade you; it can erase the immunity and it can cause a lot of infections whether it's lung or extrapulmonary. But again, the next 2-3 weeks are going to be important. We need not be panic at all," he added. On Thursday, the Centre informed that India has reported the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in two from Karnataka. (ANI)
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