By : Dr. Samayug Bhowmick, Bureau Chief-ICN West Bengal
KOLKATA : On 26 November 2021, WHO designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE).This decision was based on the evidence presented to the TAG-VE that Omicron has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves, for example, on how easily it spreads or the severity of illness it causes.
1.Omicron is now the dominant strain in India, already it has been increasing by leaps and bounds everyday.
2.Nearly 75% of Covid- infected international travellers who are landing in India are infected with Omicron.
3.Infections are often asymptomatic and detected during a random check. Omicron is certainly more potent than the flu virus.
4. Omicron variant mainly affects the upper respiratory tract / nose pharynx and in few inside the lungs.
5. There is no drop in oxygen saturation or any other severe symptom in the majority of patients, till date. Although it is very early to predict the issue, complications may happen. Thus, be very alert.
6. Victims are commonly getting fever between 99 degree to 102 degree Fahrenheit, with runny nose, sore throat, severe body ache, headache and unexplained weakness.
7. As evidence has shown till date,recovery occurs much faster than in earlier Covids. Still those infected should undergo the mandatory quarantine of 14 days from the date of test report.
8.No further RT PCR TEST, except those who will travel or will go abroad when quarantine will be over, is required to detect whether he/she has become negative.
9. Covid vaccines will continue to provide protection against severe disease and mortality to those infected by Omicron.
10. Even when wearing facemasks, as Omicron is a very highly infectious variant (485 times more than Delta) one must avoid crowds, maintain social distancing as far as practicable otherwise due to its super- spreading effect, even from a small indoor gathering, people may be infected.