New Delhi: According to the data by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), India’s total COVID-19 cases now stand at 3.73 crore, which includes 8,209 cases of the Omicron variant which is present in 29 states currently. As per the officials, India’s Covid curve had shown marginal improvement as of January 17 with the country reporting 2.58 lakh cases, which is around 5 per cent lower than yesterday (January 16).
As the COVID cases increase on a day-to-day basis in the country, suggesting the possible third wave, there has been the debate taking rounds on social media about Omicron being treated as mild or not, if it is like common cold and among other such notions. Over the past few days, experts have pointed out that Omicron symptoms are far more severe and the demand for oxygen beds had increased since the new variant started racing through the population in the country. NDTV speaks with top doctors to understand the same. Here’s what they said:
Dr VK Paul, who heads Covid Task Force said,
Omicron is not like a common cold. We are seeing this misconception spreading; it’s our responsibility to slow it down. Let’s mask up and get vaccinated, whoever is due.
On the other hand, Dr Rajesh Parikh, Director of Medical Research, Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai said that one should not make the mistake of treating the omicron virus as a common cold at all. He said,
Even World Health Organisation has warned the public that it should not be treated as the common cold and if you look at the evidence between the two viruses, one which causes Omicron and one that causes common cold, there is only 1 point of overlapping.
Highlighting the symptoms of the Omicron virus that overlaps with the common cold, Dr Ambrish Mithal, Chairman of Endocrinology, MAX Hospital added,
Omicron can present like a common cold. It may start like that and some patients may have common cold like experiences but we are not seeing that in many patients. Patients get fever, severe headaches, body aches, some of them also get severe throat pain and many of them are not okay in two or three days. Many of them take good five to six days to fully recover. So, in terms of pure symptomatology, it can be like of common cold but I don’t think it will be very smart to think of it as a common cold virus.
Further talking about the data and national capital numbers, he said,
As of January 12, Delhi had reported 40 deaths – the number may be small, but it is not like people aren’t dying because of the virus. As many as 600 people were in ICU, so that is a big deal. The infectivity of the virus is such that it is affecting a large number of people and even if a small number of them are requiring ICU care or oxygen care and deaths are happening, then obviously there is something happening around that corner. We cannot ignore the reality. We need to do whatever we can in order to contain the spread of the virus, it is the need of the hour.
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.