Omicron (covid-19) new cases on the rise, when will people of country become wise?
omicron (covid-19) case on the rise, when will people of country become wise?
In a study conducted, in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP), it was found that the omicron variant is mutating but the disease severity is mild. The spike protien had 35 mutations including 3 non-significant mutations .
Omicron: variant, symptoms, risk, and severity
The variant looked wildly different from earlier versions of the coronavirus and it quickly became clear that these mutations gave omicron an uncanny ability to sidestep our vaccines and anti-bodies to spread at higher rate. But as with any variant of SARS-CoV-2, your absolute risk depends on many factors, including whether you’re vaccinated and boosted, your age, your overall health. Possibly omicron appears to be less severe compared to delta variant, especially in those fully vaccinated, this does not mean categorizing Omicron as ‘mild,’ said the World Health Organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Unlike the previous variants, the vast majority of people infected with omicron have a mix of symptoms that resolve relatively quickly and don’t require intense hospital care. The five top symptoms are runny nose, fatigue, sneezing, headache, and sore throat. Early evidence shows that for most people, at least those who are up to date on their Covid vaccines, this variant cause milder illness that can resemble the common cold, which is like another form of the coronavirus.
Unlike the Delta variants, Omicron is seemingly unable to infect lung cells as efficiently, which makes it less damaging and the symptoms less severe. Omicron seems to replicate a hundred times faster than Delta, in the upper respiratory tract which include nose and sinuses.
What is causing the widespread of Omicron?
Also, the blast in no. of cases is due to a few more reasons other than the high transmissibility. There is a jump of 44% of cases in everyday rise, most affected states to be Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, northeast India & Uttar Pradesh. Also, the capital of the country, Delhi, has always been hit by the severe rise in cases.
The virus thrives in Crowd
The densely packed streets of daily markets, vegetable markets, and many such places provide fertile grounds for this highly transmissible COVID-19 variant. In just a few weeks the infection rate has multiplied thrice to nearly 2,00,000 cases per day. As stated by the studies, if the rise in the. of cases continue, the hospitals will soon be overwhelmed by the crowd again.
Partially, even people are responsible for the spread because of no use of masks and not following the COVID protocols and guidelines established for public safety and protection from the virus. Even with the upcoming elections in the country, the possibility of a rise in cases can become a condition similar to Bengal 2021 election. Political gatherings, roadshows, and Rallies are huge public magnets that come from different walks of society, hence making it worse by risking everybody.
Lack of medical infrastructure
It was predicted that India would hit the peak of most reported cases at starting of the year 2022, with as many as 5 lakh cases per day. The country’s medical infra has already been highly disappointing during the second wave in April-May 2021. There were immeasurable deaths and casualties which disturbed countrymen’s belief in medical help and doctors. Some even blamed the government for inappropriate facility availability to fight over the worst of times.
The second wave of COVID-19 stretched the capability of the healthcare system to its limits with the acute scarcity of hospital beds, oxygen concentrators, life-saving drugs, and medical supplies. While urban India strived to counter the after-results of the pandemic, the already under-developed healthcare system in rural India stood simply incapable to handle the multiplying number of COVID-19 patients. Lack of medical oxygen claimed several lives in India when Omicron is pushing India into a third wave of the pandemic, by December 23, the government had installed 3,236 pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants in the country from various sources with a total commissioned oxygen capacity of 3783 MT.
More and more testing
Omicron infections are reportedly mild in many cases. But if too many employees in important sectors of the economy fall ill, it can lead to a ruckus. The Indian government has so far shied away from announcing a complete lockdown, mindful of the already bleak and falling economic situation in the country.
Diagnosis is important, in principle. If our healthcare system was well equipped beforehand if we had all the infrastructure in place and a lot of money, it would have been an ideal Situation to test everybody in the community. If there is one RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen-positive in a family, ideally everybody else in the family should be tested, and then further measures for their recovery should be taken, but we know very well how poor our infrastructure is, even though we are better prepared compared to the Delta. The focus of diagnosis should be on every symptomatic individual because it is that fraction of people who are likely to deteriorate further.
Hesitancy in taking Vaccines
Vaccine hesitancy can be a regressive approach of civilians which can evidently dilute the efforts put in place to protect people from every possible preventable diseases around the world. Millions of deaths are prevented every year because of vaccines, because they are vital source of building immunity. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage communities worldwide, the threat of vaccine hesitancy has become even more evident and urgent. The best way to stop transmission of the deadly virus, while minimizing fatalities, is to immunize the global population with COVID-19 vaccines.
Refusal to vaccines often carries deep-rooted political, cultural, and emotional underpinnings that can be difficult obstacles to overcome. It still feels like a medical miracle: scientists worldwide have developed not one but multiple vaccines against the coronavirus in record time. COVID-19 vaccine acceptance varies across the world, with maximum acceptance in China (90%) compared to Russia(55%). In the United States, vaccine hesitancy was high throughout the early months of the pandemic, because of both the novelty of the coronavirus vaccines as well as the deeply political climate surrounding their development.
Vaccine hesitancy among the formally educated and better-off sections of society is fed largely by misinformation. The count of COVID-19 infections and fatalities have been severely under-reported in India. In the first phase, health care workers and front-line workforce including medical students were targeted for a vaccination with either of the two vaccines approved for restricted emergency use – Covishield or Covaxin. Covishield is manufactured by Serum Institute of India under license from Astra Zeneca whereas the inactivated severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine Covaxin (BBV152) is manufactured in India by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research.
In India, 61 percent of unvaccinated adults can be classified as those hesitant to take the Covid-19 vaccine. With data analysis now suggesting that 38 percent of the citizens who were hesitant to get vaccinated are now willing to take the jab with Omicron cases rising. According to recent studies, the reason for vaccine hesitancy includes unduly rapid vaccine development, poor vaccine efficacy, religious limitations, etc. among the medical students.
Effect of Omicron on politics and upcoming elections
Political parties have held massive rallies bringing together tens of thousands of mostly unmasked people ahead of local elections in five regions, including the most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, that begins on February 10th. Omicron is competing with political speed and is even threatening to dismiss the plans of the parties. The Allahabad and Uttarakhand high courts have suggested the election commission of India (ECI) consider the postponement of elections in the respective states.
The latest footprint of Omicron shows that the cases of new variants are low in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, and Punjab where high decibel campaigns and crowd gatherings are already on. Massive campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly election which are to take place from Feburary 10 is held in various parts of the state. And all the parties are holding rallies by mobilizing thousands of people and there is no restriction on these rallies.
In wake of Omicron cases shooting high across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting to review the Covid-19 situation in the country. The meeting was held amid growing concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, with cases currently crossing the 300-mark. The country has reported 6,650 new cases of Covid-19 and 374 deaths in 24 hours.
With new structural guidelines election commissioner of India, Sushil Chandra stated “Postponement of the elections would result in a situation that denies people the right to elect a government of their preference. Democracy is part of the basic structure of the Constitution and the timely election is the essence of maintaining that democratic structure.”
This is a first-time for independent India, electors, candidates and political parties are challanged by the force of Virus and are being called out for adopting the new normal for elections as the Omicron induced third wave shatters the past practices. Conviniently forcing in change of poll plans of parties and EC.
Restrictions like door-to-door visits with a maximum of five people, including the candidate, virtual rallies, mobile-based and digital campaigns are the only canvassing tools available through the seven-phase polling to the Assemblies of Uttar Pradesh (403 seats), Uttarakhand (70), Punjab (117), Manipur (60) and Goa (40) from February 10 to March 7 with counting on March 10.
Due to the inclusion of digital campaigns, Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party pointed out that EC should hold the hands of financially weaker political parties to support them in assets and promote regional parties equally as the ruling party and other opposition.
Some political analysts and specialists believe that the ruling party has an advantage over others due to this omicron wave and the digital campaign format due to higher asset count and social media coverage making its presence valid in the states which are already under the BJP rule.
If the Covid-19 crisis is a potential political opportunity for Narendra Modi, it is an even greater opportunity for the opposition to point all the faults and follies in the working of centre. The public can now test Narendra Modi on three parameters: response to the pandemic, the health infrastructure at large, and the state of the Indian economy. On all three fronts, the opposition has a big window of critical opportunity and the frame for improvising the already practised norms.
During the Bengal elections of 2021, the COVID-19 protocols were put at stake and no guidelines were followed during the campaigns, roadshows, and visits of politicians and candidates in different areas. The Madras High court condemned the election commission of the murder charges and breach of Covid-19 protocols during elections of Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry.
The unpreparedness of the states during the deadly second wave, which witnessed scarcity of resources and loss of thousands of lives, led people to backlash Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for paying too much attention to West Bengal polls rather than handling the COVID situation in the country.
India has always been on the radar for its policies and government handling of any controversial matter. Ever since the pandemic broke loose over the world, India has been adversely affected by the previous two waves and hence there has been blaming game, politics around the whole situation.
Be it the rising cases, lockdown, post lockdown economic slump, unemployment due to downfall, unawareness about the COVID situation, Vaccine availability, Vaccine hesitancy, Second Wave, low resources to fight over the worsening situations, and many such situations.
As to go by the memes we haven’t cracked the ‘chronology’ of how the Virus is going to behave in the future, but we must not forget that virus hasn’t said, ‘Tata, bye-bye’ to the world yet. Omicron might be the stage after which Covid-19 may start to lose its “pandemic” status due to rising global vaccination. The virus is likely to become ‘endemic’ and eventually fold in the background of everyday life.
As described by billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates in one of his blog posts, COVID might become seasonal and won’t be the primary deciding factor “whether to work from the office or let your kids go to their soccer game or watch a movie in a theater.” Like other respiratory viruses, there will be times of the year when COVID infections peak most likely the colder fall and winter months, meaning COVID and flu seasons could regularly coincide going forward.
Edited and published by nikita