New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) Even as Delhi is in the middle of a third wave of coronavirus, city doctors on Wednesday advised not to panic but to strictly adhere to the Covid norms such as maintaining social distance, wearing masks, maintaining proper sanitisation, and getting vaccinated.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday morning announced the start of a third Covid wave in the national capital, and warned the cases can jump to close to 10,000 with the infection rate nearing 10 per cent by the evening.
By evening, as predicted by Jain, Delhi reported 10,665 fresh Covid-19 cases – highest since May 12 – and eight deaths, and the positivity rate also shot up to 11.88 per cent. The number of active cases in the capital now stands at 23,307.
Talking to IANS, Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, said: “The pillars of precautions remain the same as with previous waves: social distancing, masks, sanitisation, and vaccines. If we continue to bear these four things in mind, the wave will be mild and we will not see pressure on hospitals and healthcare providers.”
The rapid increase in cases could also be due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid that is reportedly driving the third wave in the national capital. Delhi on Wednesday reported 464 Omicron cases, the second-highest in the country after Maharashtra (653).
Besides Omicron, the significant rise in Covid cases could also be breakthrough infections, Dr Manoj Goel, Director, Pulmonology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, told IANS.
“It appears that there is significant breakthrough infection even in previously vaccinated and amongst those who had Covid in the previous waves which is quite worrying. This means India might face even a bigger wave than the previous ones,” Goel said.
A recent study led by the UK’s Imperial College London showed that the risk of reinfection with the Omicron variant is 5.4 times greater than that of the Delta variant. But the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis shows that while Omicron has faster onset of infection symptoms, people who get reinfected with the highly transmissible variant may experience fewer symptoms than they did during their initial bout with the virus.
Goel said that while so far data on Omicron from South Africa, and the UK shows that it causes mild infections, it is yet to be proven in the country.
“We are yet to see a trend of the variant causing less severe disease in the Indian population. Hence, we should not be complacent. It is therefore important to follow Covid appropriate behaviour strictly and get yourself vaccinated,” he said.
The health experts advised people as well as children to get vaccinated. While vaccination may not prevent symptomatic disease, it can prevent serious infections, they said.
However, “if one develops even slightest flu-like symptoms don’t take it lightly and get yourself tested as this time Covid is highly infectious and you can easily infect many others”, Goel said.
On getting symptoms, one should immediately isolate, till one receives a negative Covid report.
Besides the Covid norms, people must also maintain a healthy lifestyle to ward off Covid.
“A healthy diet should be followed to boost immunity. Drink plenty of water every day to stay hydrated. It is also critical to exercise on a regular basis. People should exercise in their own homes and avoid public places,” Dr Rakesh Pandit, HOD, Internal Medicine at Aakash Healthcare super speciality hospital, told IANS.