Monday, January 24, 2022
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Return of the virus

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/9/2022 11:53:06 AM IST

At the national level, eminent epidemiologists and virologists, since a year back had predicted that India may see a third wave of COVID-19 peaking from October and November last year onwards if a more virulent mutant than the existing ones emerge by September. It was also predicted that the intensity of the mutant virus is expected to be much lower than the second wave , according to a scientist involved in the mathematical modelling of the pandemic. They predicted that if the third wave peaks, the country could initially see some 1 lakh daily cases. The predictions have now come true as the new mutant-Omicron- has become India’s steadily rising virus. Fresh cases were being reported from Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat and Karnataka. Most of those who tested positive for the new variant had either recently arrived from African countries or were in contact with such people. As fears of the new variant have engulfed the nation, one question that needs to be answered- Is India prepared to tackle the spread of the growing Omicron variant? Health experts in India say that one of the most worrisome thing about this new variant is its transmissibility rate. However, if there is a significant spike in the number of cases, the maximum impact will be on international travel. Domestic travel will be impacted to a much lesser extent and there is no saying what will happen if Omicron transmission reaches a level of concern. However, states like Karnataka and Delhi have reported Omicron cases of people without travel history. This has set health authorities in trying to weigh in the pros and cons about more stringent travel advisories within and banning international flights all again. According to the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, the Omicron variant could become dominant because it is highly transmissible. WHO concluded that it was possible for Omicron to become a dominant variant even as it continues to mutate though not as deadly as other variants such as the Delta variant. There is serious concern in Nagaland about resurgence in number of fresh covid cases. Sometime back, the state Health & Family Welfare (H&FW) department expressed grave concern that “there is sufficient evidence of the possibility of a third wave anytime”, stating that many cases remain “undetected and underreported.”To highlight the concerns the department had shown the significant rise in number of new covid cases in Dimapur district during the past week. According to the department, out of a total of 54 fresh cases in the state, Dimapur alone accounted for 49 cases between January 1 to 7,2022. This, according to the department showed a meteoric increase of 100%. The DoHFW also pointed out that though the overall weekly sample positivity rate (WSPR) of the state stood at 1.6%, the WSPR in Dimapur was 2%. There is no guarantee that the world will be rid of the virus so easily and early. There are different mutations which have functionally changed the Wuhan virus strain allowed the virus to get inside human cells more aggressively. The predicted third covid wave, even if not as deadly as the second, cannot be taken lightly as health limitations in most states in India are limited while in the north east, it is still totally inadequate.

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