An review of government data finds that nearly half of the 183 people infected with the highly transmissible Omicron variant of Coronavirus were completely vaccinated.
According to government health officials, the data only serve to emphasise that “vaccine alone is not adequate to contain this pandemic,” and that mask use and surveillance are critical to breaking the transmission cycle.
Rajesh Bhushan, the Union Health Secretary, provided a review of 183 Omicron cases found in India on Friday. Of the 183 Omicron cases whose vaccination status is known, 87 (nine of ten or 91%) were fully jabbed, with three of them receiving booster doses as well. Two were just partially vaccinated, while the remaining seven were unvaccinated.
Vaccination status for 73 people was unknown, and 16 people were ineligible to get vaccinated. While the travel histories of 18 Omicron cases are unknown, an examination of the remaining 165 reveals that 121 (or 73%) had previously been overseas. Significantly, 27 percent of these 165 cases had no prior foreign travel history, showing Omicron’s prevalence in the community.
According to ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava, the data also showed that 70% of patients are asymptomatic in terms of clinical symptoms. “Omicron infection does not always result in significant symptomatic clinical illness.” In India, nearly a third of all cases were asymptomatic, while the remainder were minimally symptomatic. As a result, I’d want to emphasise that the management of Omicron in symptomatic people remains unchanged,” he stated.
The Omicron version has a higher risk of transmission within families than the Delta variant, according to VK Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog, and leader of India’s Covid-19 task team. Because he didn’t wear a mask outside, the one individual who brought the sickness inside will infect others in the house. In Omicron, the risk is greater. “This is something we should bear in mind,” he stated.
According to Bhargava, the dominant strain across India, including the recently discovered clusters, is still Delta. “As a result, we must stick to the same strategy: Covid-19 acceptable behaviour and vaccine ramping up,” he said.
Paul emphasised the importance of taking care, particularly in light of the forthcoming festival and New Year. “During this time, a new variety appeared. As a result, responsible behaviour is the way to go. Wearing a mask, maintaining good hand hygiene, and avoiding crowding are all recommended. Unnecessary travel should be avoided at all costs. We are unable to travel in huge groups. Constant vigilance is required. The traditional containment and surveillance technique is still a key component of pandemic preparedness. We’ve received our immunisation. However, vaccination alone will not be enough to stop the pandemic. “Contact tracking and perimeter control should be given considerable attention,” he stated.
Paul also urged private institutions to be ready to “repurpose the beds, should the necessity arise,” on Friday. The health-care system as a whole should be prepared. “The private sector will continue to play a critical role in the pandemic’s management… We’ve asked them to do audits and oversee medicine and oxygen availability, as well as revisit their facility-specific SOPs, so that we’re truly prepared,” he said.
“Human resources are extremely valuable. You’ll require teams to manage the infrastructure. The government has made a significant effort to form teams and train them. The same is true in the private sector. As a result, in the aftermath of Omicron, an overall readiness is developed and implemented,” Paul explained.
When the Prime Minister presided over a high-level meeting on Thursday, Paul said his first message was on district-level infrastructure preparedness in the event of a surge. In the event of a surge, Bhushan provided a thorough breakdown of the dedicated oxygen and ICU beds available for Covid-19: 18.10 lakh isolation beds, 4.94 lakh oxygen assisted beds, 1.39 lakh ICU beds, 24,057 paediatric ICU beds, and 64,796 paediatric non-ICU beds.