New Delhi: On January 14, India witnessed a 6.7 per cent jump in new Covid cases as it added 2.64 lakh new infections over the last 24 hours, the highest in 239 days, according to the data reported by Health Ministry. Deaths from Covid have rose by 315, with total fatalities now at 485,350, the Health Ministry had said. As India continues to see the spike due to Omicron, NDTV speaks with doctors to know more about the same.
Talking about the cases and the surge India is seeing, Dr Jagadish J Hiremath, Chairman AASRA Hospital said,
The number of cases are not decreasing, there has been no respite at all, yet people are going on with their lives as if there is no tomorrow. They have been behaving as if there is no pandemic and nothing is happening around. We are seeing a huge jump in asymptomatic patients and incidental findings, which mean people coming to hospitals for different reason and when we are testing them we are finding they are COVID positive.
Further talking about COVID appropriate behaviour and how people are no longer following it religiously, he said,
The spike we are seeing now is because people are not following the Covid appropriate behaviour. Yes, we cannot make people sit at home all the time, but the least we all can do is to follow the norms properly. This variant is very different and has many many mutations, if one person in the household gets infected with the virus, all other people will get infected. This virus should not be treated as common cold which has cough and runny nose. The problem is that people think it is normal cold, they tend to go out after two days. The highest transmissibility of this variant is in the first two days when the RAT or RTPCR test is not done. So, the best bet is to do as many as RATs as possible and isolate yourself. This is only way to win omicron transmissibility.
On the other hand, Dr Vivek Nangia, Principal Director, Max Saket said that India is experiencing the Omicron surge the same way South Africa reported and he hopes this stays like that. He added,
In South Africa, where the virus variant was first identified, a very sudden surge was seen and then it started to come down. Hopefully we will also see the same trend. Currently, the UK and USA numbers have not come down, they are still on the rise, which is a worry. Hopefully, India’s numbers will come down soon. As far as hospitalisation is concerned, it is increasing gradually. Not as much as we saw in the Delta variant but we are going towards it and if we will not control our behaviour now and cut the cycle of infection and spread then we will soon create a situation where hospitals will get overwhelmed. Currently as it is our hospital staff is getting infected and we are facing the shortage there.
Highlighting the hospital scenarios and if we are seeing a surge in cases requiring oxygen and ICU beds, Dr Hiremath said,
In the initial weeks of this strain we did see people not requiring any oxygen or ICU support if infected, but in last few days, there has been a small trend which we have observed which highlights that the requirement can be there. As compared to last wave it is not that much but we cannot say it is not there completely. As of now, we have not seen any young patient requiring ICU support, but people with comorbidities and underlying conditions are requiring the ICU support.
Stressing that Omicron should not be tagged as a mild variant, Dr Hemant Deshmukh, Dean, KEM Hospital added,
Omicron is not a mild disease, it is not common cold or fever that people have been experiencing for so many years. The after effects of Omicron maybe devastating, we don’t know anything about that.
Reiterating the same point, Dr Nangia said,
We still don’t know how it will pan out with time, what dangerous diseases it will bring. Like in second wave, we had seen cases of long COVID going up, we had mucormycosis or black fungus. Lastly, if the numbers continue to grow at this high rate then it will undergo more mutations and new variant will come out in next six months again. So, we will have to break this cycle of infection at all cost.
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.