Community Spread of Omicron Can Overwhelm Hospitals, Warn Health Experts

Amid concerns over the rising cases of coronavirus across the country some senior doctors in Delhi on Thursday cautioned that, according to the data collected from studies it has been suggested that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 causes mild infection and there is a need to remain vigilant as a community spread can still strain hospitals. They said, the elderly and those having comorbidities are at serious risk.

Earlier the day, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said that Omicron is gradually spreading in the community and the new, fast-spreading variant of concern has been found in 54 per cent of the latest samples tested in the national capital. The variant will only spread more in the approaching days he said.

Dr Piyush Jain, Medicine Department, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, said, “Data from some foreign countries shows that the Omicron variant causes mild infection in most of the cases. But we do not have the data from India yet.”

However, it can still put the elderly and those having comorbidities at serious risk.

Dr Jugal Kishore, head of community medicine at Safdarjung Hospital said people who are “immunocompromised, or have HIV or secondary infections need to take care of themselves and not step out… take regular medications and monitor their sleep cycle.” Sumit Ray, head of department of Critical Care Medicine at Holy Family Hospital said the sheer number of Omicron cases can overwhelm hospitals.

“We have to be watchful. In South Africa, there have been fewer hospitalisations (due to Omicron). Most of the hospitalisations in other foreign countries are because of Delta. But if the number of infections is 2 lakh per day, like in France, and the hospitalisations due to Omicron are one-seventh or one-eighth of that number, it’s a fairly high number,” he said.

Delhi on Thursday recorded 1,313 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day rise since May 26, while the positivity rate mounted to 1.73 per cent, according to health department data.

India reported 16,764 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 days as per the Covid bulletin released on Friday, a spike for the third day which has pushed the country’s coronavirus tally to 34,838,804.

The total cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 cases has gone up to 1,270 with Maharashtra and Delhi reporting 450 and 320 cases respectively, according to the Union health ministry.

With the administration of 66,65,290 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 144.54 Cr (1,44,54,16,714) as per provisional reports till 7 am today. This has been achieved through 1,54,27,550 sessions.

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