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Nothing To Panic About, Take Precaution, Booster Shots, Say Doctors On Rise In Covid Cases

The rise in COVID-19 cases could be a result of more people getting themselves tested for Covid as a precaution when they actually get infected with the influenza virus and develop fever and related ailments, say experts

Nothing To Panic About, Take Precaution, Booster Shots, Say Doctors On Rise In Covid Cases
Over the past week, Delhi has seen a rise in daily Covid cases

New Delhi: Amid a gradual increase in Covid-19 cases in Delhi in recent days, some medical experts say the new XBB.1.16 variant could be driving the rise in cases but add there’s no need to panic and people should follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and get booster shots if they have not already. They also say this rise could be a result of more people getting themselves tested for Covid as a precaution when they actually get infected with the influenza virus and develop fever and related ailments.

Also Read: “Monitoring Situation Currently”: Delhi Health Minister Amid Rise In Covid-19 Cases

Over the past week, Delhi has seen a rise in daily Covid cases amid a sharp increase in H3N2 influenza cases in parts of the country, including the national capital.

On Friday, Delhi recorded over 150 fresh Covid cases with a positivity rate of 6.66 per cent. A day before that, it logged 117 cases with a positivity rate of 4.95 per cent. The number of daily Covid cases has nearly doubled since Tuesday when 83 fresh Covid cases were reported with a positivity rate of 5.83 per cent and one fatality.

The number of fresh Covid cases had dropped to zero on January 16, the first time since the pandemic began. This is the first time since October last year that Delhi recorded daily Covid-19 cases in three digits.

The Delhi health department data showed that 1,653 tests were conducted on Tuesday and 2,282 tests were done on Thursday. Only 27 of the 7,984 beds are occupied in dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, while 250 patients are in home isolation, the department said in a bulletin on Friday.

The number of active cases in the national capital currently stands at 424, the data showed.

Dr Jugal Kishore, head of the medicine department at the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, said that Covid has become “similar to influenza” where the virus undergoes change every year and infects people. He said,

Omicron infected more than 95 per cent of the population. People have developed antibodies against it and chances of infection from the same variant are less unless the surface antigens change. XBB.1.16, a variant of Omicron, which originated in Japan and was found in China and Singapore, could be behind the rise in cases (in India).

Also Read: Delhi Budget 2023: Focus On Health And Environment For A ‘Clean, Beautiful, and Modern Delhi’

It has a high transmissibility and cases are likely to increase, but there won’t be many deaths, the doctor said, adding that an increase in testing will reflect the increase in number.

Dr Kishore, however, cautioned people with comorbidities and those who have a severe illness, saying they are at a higher risk. He feared there could be mortality in these cases.

“People who have not taken a booster vaccine dose should take it, especially those who have people with comorbidities or patients in their families,” he said.

A senior doctor at LNJP, Delhi government’s largest hospital and the mainstay of its fight against the pandemic, said, “New variants keep coming as the virus evolves”.

She said,

But the current situation in Delhi seems to stem from a rise in influenza cases. As more people are falling sick, more people are getting themselves tested for Covid. So the rise in the number of cases is being seen.

However, there’s nothing to panic about at the moment and people should take all precautions, the doctor said.

She said,

Yesterday, three Covid patients were admitted to LNJP and one more was admitted today. So four people are admitted as of now. We have a few patients of influenza too, who are admitted in a separate room.

Also Read: Delhi Government Issues Advisory On H3N2, Directs Hospitals To Monitor Situation

Dr Richa Sareen, a consultant in pulmonology at Fortis hospital here, said,

I feel the rise in Covid cases is led by the new variant. But XBB.1.16 is a variant of Omicron and so there shouldn’t be much to worry about as most people have developed antibodies over time, especially after the last wave driven by Omicron.

However, there’s a need to exercise caution and people should wear masks in crowded places, she said, adding that those who are immunocompromised or have comorbidities should be extra careful.

Former AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria on Wednesday said the XBB.1.16 variant could be driving the recent rise but emphasised there was no need for panic as long it does not cause severe illness and deaths.

Dr Guleria said any virus evolves over time and this has happened with both Covid and influenza.

This is what is called antigenic drift, he said.

It will gradually evolve, mutate a little bit and new variants will emerge, Dr Guleria added.

Also Read: Not Many Influenza Cases But Will Conduct Early Screening: Delhi Health Minister

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the 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 populationindigenous 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 (WaterSanitation 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, which 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 pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual 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.

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