Omicron variant and its subtypes are driving the recent surge in Covid-19 cases as cases are increasing unexpectedly
According to government sources, the coronavirus variant Omicron variant and its subtypes are skyrocketing in Delhi. They added that the samples that underwent genomic sequencing showed the presence of BA.2.12.1 and eight other subtypes of the Omicron mutant coronavirus. After a surge in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, Delhi has begun genomic sequencing of samples of all Covid-19 infected individuals in the capital to see if new variants, such as the XE variant, have started to spread throughout the city.
Delhi has enrolled 1,009 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours. According to the latest government health information, this is the highest since February 10th. The positive rate for the state capital has risen to 5.7%, with one person dying from Covid- 19 in the last 24 hours. On Wednesday, the Delhi government-mandated masked in public places and fined violators Rs. 500 amid a surge in cases. An official said the Delhi Disaster Management Agency (DDMA) also chose not to close the school at the meeting but instead consult experts about developing another standard operating procedure.
Meanwhile, according to recent government data, 97% of samples which died of Covid in Delhi from January to March contained an omicron variant of the coronavirus. In addition, genomic sequencing of 578 samples collected from the deceased showed that 560 of them had the Omicron variant.
The remaining 18 (3 per cent) contained other variants of Covid-19, such as Delta and Subline, which caused severe second-wave infections in April and May last year. In total, the Omicron variant was found in all 504 samples analysed at the Metropolitan Genomic Sequencing Laboratory in March.
How much concerning the omicron variant is?
The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been designated as a Variant of Concern by WHO. Omicron spreads faster than any previous variant, with a doubling time of 23 days. Therefore, the overall risk associated with this variant remains very high. BA.2 is a subvariant of Omicron, sometimes referred to as “Stealth Omicron”. According to the World Health Organization, it is currently the world’s leading strain of Covid-19 and is the most contagious variant of the virus to date.
Although BA.2 is not considered to be more severe than other types of Omicrons, hospitalisations are increasing in countries around the world with a significant increase in the number of cases. In many countries, the use of masks and the removal of public health measures such as physical distance contribute to the spread of the virus. The Covid-19 vaccine provides strong protection against serious illnesses and deaths, including Omicron.
Compared to the delta type, the risk of hospitalisation for this variant is lower. However, WHO warns against dismissing them as “mild”. The increase in Covid-19 related deaths due to the mutation has been observed in many countries, especially in countries with low vaccination rates in the most vulnerable populations. It is very important to remember that all variants of Covid-19 can cause serious illness and increase death rates. Therefore, it is imperative to prevent the spread of the virus and reduce the risk of exposure to the virus and new variants.
Can we say the omicron variant is more contagious?
Yes, the Omicron variant is more contagious than the previous variants. However, to prevent the spread of Covid-19, preventive measures such as avoiding vaccinations and crowded areas, keeping a distance from other people, and wearing a mask are essential.
The WHO approved Covid-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe illness and death, including against Omicron. However, the vaccines offer reduced protection against infection and mild disease from Omicron, which is why it`s important to continue taking measures to reduce the spread of the virus, such as physical distancing, mask-wearing, good ventilation, and regular handwashing.
It is also essential to be vaccinated to protect against the other widely circulating variants, such as the Delta one. So when it`s your turn, make sure to get vaccinated. If your vaccination involves two doses, it`s important to receive both in order to have maximum protection.
The Omicron variant is the most transferable variant to date for all age groups, both adults and children. Therefore, an increase in the number of affected children is expected. In addition, people who are socially mixed and who are not vaccinated are more susceptible to Covid-19.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma