New Delhi: On Monday (January 10), India saw a single-day rise of 1.79 lakh (1,79,723) new Novel coronavirus cases, the highest spike since May 28 last year when 1.86 lakh cases were reported. India’s COVID tally touched 3.57 crore including 4,033 cases of Omicron variant reported across 27 states and union territories. The country reported 146 deaths linked to the SARS-CoV-2. India is currently reeling under the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic which is said to be driven by the Omicron variant of the virus. Amid the surge in cases, the country today rolled out precaution dose or booster dose for healthcare and frontline workers and senior citizens with comorbidities. In a special interview, the Banega Swasth India team spoke to Dr Jayesh Lele, General Secretary, Indian Medical Association (IMA) to take stock of the current COVID situation.
5 Key Points By IMA Official On COVID-19 And Omicron Variant:
- The decision on precaution or booster or third dose is timely. It’s very important to vaccinate healthcare workers because we have lost a lot of them. There are two key issues – firstly, there is a shortage of healthcare workers. Secondly, we lost around 2,000 doctors during the second wave of the pandemic. Healthcare workers include everyone ranging from nurses to paramedical staff and ward boys. They work overtime and when infected, the viral load is high as a result of which, they are exposed for a longer period of time.
- Five to eight per cent of healthcare workers were infected with COVID-19 by the end of the second wave of the pandemic in India. Now, with the Omicron variant, we are seeing that healthcare workers who were exposed to the virus in the previous waves and are fully vaccinated are getting reinfected. Naturally, a third dose is required.
- In India, the third dose will be of the same vaccine as people have received for their first and second doses. The mix and match thinking is there but at the moment, we cannot do any experiment because we don’t have that much time. Also, if you go for cross vaccination then you need to keep in mind the vaccine availability.
- The decision on booster dose for the entire adult population will come immediately; towards the end of the third wave. We are opening up vaccination in a phased manner like, last week, vaccination of children aged between 15 and 18 began.
- India is three to five weeks behind South Africa in terms of Omicron cases. Based on how Omicron peaked in South Africa, in a week’s time, India will reach the peak of the third wave. By the third week of February, cases should start declining.
You can listen to the full Banega Swasth India podcast discussion by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.