New Delhi: With the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, India is likely to witness a sharp spike in the number of cases in the coming days, however, following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and vaccination could help contain the spread of the disease, noted a top health expert.
India reported more than 1.5 lakh new COVID-19 cases for the third consecutive day on Tuesday. The country reported 1,68,063 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed today.
Speaking to ANI, Chairman of COVID-19 Working Group of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) Dr NK Arora said, “The peak will depend on the virus transmission, and how well the community adheres to the COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. If the COVID-19 norms are violated, a faster and taller peak is likely to occur. On the other hand, vaccination and administrative actions like night curfews, and weekend curfews tend to flatten the curve.”
“The way that the IIT Kanpur model has shown, it looks like, the transmission is taking place very actively and we should be reaching our peak in the near future. But it is likely to last for several weeks before it subsides,” he added.
Asked about the kind of variant of COVID-19 mostly being detected in the country amid the ongoing third wave, Dr Arora said that by the behaviour of the virus, it seems that the wave is driven by the Omicron variant.
“It appears that most of the COVID-19 cases being reported in the country now are of the Omicron variant. The initial experience from the genomic surveillance showed that from 10 days to two weeks, over 90 per cent of the virus is circulating in the big cities like Delhi, Pune, Mumbai which is the Omicron variant. The behaviour, mild illness, everybody in the family getting infected, it looks like the surge is driven by Omicron,” he said.
However, the expert added that the Delta variant responsible for the devastating second wave in the country in April-May 2021 can still be found in some parts of the country where the Delta epidemic was already going on.
“There will be some cases of Delta as well in the areas where Delta epidemic was already going on like some districts of Tamil Nadu and the areas of the Northeastern states. So in a situation like this, we should be more focused on taking care of Omicron and its management,” he stated.
Speaking on the deaths occurring due to COVID-19 in the country, the doctor said that most of the deaths are associated with patients with comorbidities.
“Most of the COVID-19 deaths occurring on a daily basis are associated with comorbidities like heart attack, brain stroke or other problems. But yes, there are some deaths that are occurring because of the virus. But overall the situation is under control,” he said.
“About 85 per cent of the deaths being reported are from people above 60 years of age,” Dr Arora added.
Meanwhile, the tally of the active cases of COVID-19 in the country has reached 8,21,446. A total of 4,461 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus have been reported so far.
The country also witnessed 277 new COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours. As many as 4,84,213 people have succumbed to the infection so far.