One can't be complacent as COVID-19 situation will worsen in next two weeks: Health expert

Published Jan 7, 2022


By Shalini Bhardwaj

New Delhi [India], January 7 (ANI): Senior Director of Medanta Hospital Dr Sushila Kataria on Friday warned people not to "be complacent because the situation will worsen in the next two weeks" because the third wave of coronavirus disease has already hit India and it is not just a flu that will pass away.

Speaking to ANI, Dr Kataria, who has treated many COVID-19 patients said, "One cannot be complacent because the situation will worsen in the next two weeks. COVID is not just a flu that will pass away. We have already seen from January 4 that the third wave has already hit the country. The number of cases has almost increased five times in the last three days."

"No doubt it is increasing because Omicron variant is spreading across the globe. Another fact is that it is less severe than the Delta variant. But it cannot be dismissed completely because every 10th person was admitted to the hospital during the second wave," the expert said.

Dr Kataria further said, "Even every 50th or 100th person was dying due to Delta variant. The number of hospitalisation is just 50 per cent less in this case. Even these numbers are good enough, large enough, worrying enough to other girls in the healthcare system, which I am seeing right now."

She also said that the people are dying because of the Omicron variant, so more precautions need to be taken as of now and "So this may be a mild virus good for us, but we can't be complacent that it will not cause anything. Let me tell you across the globe, people have died because of Omicron. So, this is not just a vaccine or not just a flu, which will pass away. One has to be careful all the time."

On testing of Omicron variant, Dr Kataria said, "Detection of COVID infection is only through RTPCR or antigen or rapid testing. So, in today's times if anybody has upper respiratory symptoms or diarrhoea or just a body ache, it is presumed to be COVID related, isolate and test yourself. So, the RTPCR can tell you this is COVID or not. To know whether it is Omicron or not, then you have to do some further testing. One is called S gene drop."

Differentiating between Omicron and Delta variant symptoms, she said, "As a clinician, the difference I am observing is people have a more scratchy throat, body aches, and shivering. Fever is not a common symptom. But in younger people, sometimes people are reporting 103-104 deg F fever, and there is disproportionate tiredness and headache."

"Earlier the cough was very dry. Now people are coming with more like a bad cough but it is very clear or whitish clear. These are the main symptoms we are seeing. They're seeing less of loss of smell and taste, but to say 100 per cent that it does not happen. I need some more experience clinically and maybe some more research," she added.

She also said that people who complain of breathlessness and continued fever beyond even seven days have been reported in some cases, but it is much less than it was reported in Delta.

Dr Kataria also warned that people need to be cautious as she is getting people whose health condition is deteriorating.

"I would like to caution people that it is not like this. I myself have two patients in the hospital right now who are on oxygen and who are Omicron. We have lost one patient because of Omicron which was reported," the expert said.

Dr Kataria added, "Delhi also reported eight fatalities yesterday and you never know all these patients could be Omicron because that's the dominant strain across. So it is milder is good for us. But please don't be complacent from your side. Do not invite infection. Do everything possible to prevent from getting infected and if somebody is infected, make sure that you do not pass on this to somebody else."

Meanwhile, India reported 1,17,100 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the daily positivity rate in the country to 7.74 per cent, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday.

With this, the country's COVID-19 case tally has gone up to 3,52,26,386.

According to Health Ministry, the country has so far reported 3,007 cases of Omicron of which 1,199 have recovered. (ANI)