The ‘Second National Wave of COVID-19’ got over in September 2021. Many experts in the healthcare sector stated that a third-wave is inevitable.
Fast forward to January 2, 2022 Health Minister of Tamil Nadu Ma. Subramanian declared that the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has started in Tamil Nadu.
Regarding questions about Third Wave and Omicron, we approached Dr.A Murali, Infectious Diseases Consultant, PSG Hospitals. He said, as per current data, Omicron is causing only a mild impact on people. The lung-infection cases are low, and so is the ICU admission but at the same time its transmission rate is high, and it will lead to an increased number of cases.
What is your view on this Third Wave?
Third-wave is inevitable. There is a good chance to see it attain a peak, next month. It may peak during February and March and descend in April.
Data from Western countries and South Africa tell us that they have had a Sharp Peak and a Sharp Descend. We cannot predict anything but the third wave may peak during February and reduce by March.
Will Omicron bring a disaster?
The second wave we experienced was the deadliest. The Delta variant was terrific. Based on the current data in hand, we can say Omicron causes mild disease impact. It doesn’t affect the lungs, doesn’t make the condition serious enough to need ICU support, oxygen support.
The data from South Africa, USA tells us that only 1.6 to 2% of patients require ICU admission due to Omicron. So its impact is minimal but definitely, there will be a higher number of cases due to this variant, yet the severity of the variant on the human body will be less.
Can boosters help? What’s the status of it in India & abroad?
Boosters (third dose of Covid-19 vaccine) have been rolled out in the US, UK and many foreign countries. In Israel, they have approved for a fourth dose.
Generally speaking, boosters have the ability to give increased defence against all types of infectious diseases. Hence getting booster doses is good.
The rollout of boosters has been announced for health and frontline workers as well as for those above 60 with comorbidities in India. It is set to begin by the second week of Jan 2022.
How can vaccinating teens be of help?
Vaccination is definitely going to help the youngsters. The unvaccinated population, especially some of the younger population can be carriers, so by getting vaccinated, they are shielding themselves and the people around them from Covid. Some kids may fear getting the vaccine shots but parents have to encourage their kids who are eligible for the jabs.
What if Omicron spreads more in Covai in future?
Omicron has a higher transmissibility rate but as I said, the severity of this variant is low. The treatment will be the same; like how doctors treated patients who suffered previous variants.
In foreign countries, especially in the West, they are seeing a lot of their Health care workers get infected with this variant, and this has made the unaffected members of the system take care of their current patients and also extend care to the sea of new patients, as well. This eventually made the health care system get stretched there.
In Tamil Nadu, we may see our healthcare force stretch if daily cases continuously shoot up and if a large number of our healthcare workers get affected. But there won’t be the seriousness of the condition in patients.
Will there be a cure?
Though Vaccines are preventing people from getting infected, in a sort of way, their validity is not as high as other vaccines like the ones we use for polio. Vaccine for polio has long term validity. You put it once and mostly you never have to worry about getting polio. But our body is not developing such immunity against Covid with the vaccines we have now.
What we can do now is eat healthy foods to keep our immunity level up, definitely wear a mask, clean hands, follow social distancing, get fully vaccinated, if haven’t taken so far, and follow the government’s guidance.