Most patients during 3rd wave are infected with Omicron: Dr Arora

New Delhi, Jan 9
In an exclusive interview with India Today, Chairman of India's technical advisory group on Covid-19 vaccination Dr NK Arora said that around 70-80 per cent of Covid-19 cases during India’s third wave are of the Omicron variant of the virus. However, the Delta variant is still active in North East India and West Bengal, he said.
During the second wave, when the Delta variant was running amok, there was a greater need for hospitalisation. With Omicron, problems as serious as those experienced during the second wave have not yet been seen, Dr NK Arora said. “Scientific evidence says that Delta variant is more dangerous. The Omicron situation has not been as severe,” he said.
“There is no need to panic as few people need to be hospitalised if infected with Omicron,” he said. Still, he emphasised that the elderly and vulnerable must take great care.
“Until now, most Omicron patients have not needed to be admitted to the hospital. Only if there is difficulty in breathing and persistent fever over four to five days, then the patient should be admitted to the hospital,” Dr NK Arora explained.
He also said that those who have had Covid-19 before can be infected with Omicron. To stay safe, he emphasised on the need to wear face masks. Dr NK Arora said cloth masks are not effective for this purpose.
Dr NK Arora said the third wave has arrived in India with cases having increased exponentially over the last one week. The cases are expected to continue to rise in the near future, he said. The speed of the spread of the virus during this wave will depend on whether citizens follow Covid protocol, he added.
“We have made preparations on war footing. From oxygen to ICU beds, we are ready in all respects. We have learned a lot from the first and second wave. Weekend and night curfews are being imposed to reduce the peak levels. These measures cannot stop the spread of the virus but they do slow it down,” Dr NK Arora said.
Dr NK Arora said that four to five more vaccines manufactured in India are likely to be made available over the next few months. This includes Covovax, Corbevax and intranasal vaccine.
On vaccination of children, he clarified that it is not necessary for them to take Paracetamol after being administered their doses. “Even if the child has fever, it will get cured on its own in 24 hours,” he said.
Regarding booster doses, he said they cannot stop the spread of the Omicron variant, as is evident from the experience of regions like US and Europe where cases spiked despite booster doses being administered on a large scale.
That said, the chances of serious illness and hospitalisation are much less for those who have been vaccinated with two or three doses, Dr NK Arora stated. “The main advantage of vaccination is to avoid the serious consequences of any variant in the body,” he said.
India Today