India to see Omicron rise but cases will be mild, vaccines will help: Angelique Coetzee

In India, Maharashtra recorded the highest number of 108 Omicron cases, followed by Delhi with 79, Gujarat 43, Telangana 38, Kerala 37, Tamil Nadu 34 and Karnataka 31.

India will see an increase in Omicron-linked Covid cases and a high positivity rate, but the infection will hopefully be mild in most people, as seen in South Africa, Dr. Angelique Coetzee who identified the variant for the first time.

The president of the South African Medical Association also said that existing vaccines would certainly control contagion, but those that are not vaccinated are at 100% “risk”.

“The existing vaccines will go a long way in reducing the spread of the Omicron variant,” Coetzee told PTI in a telephone interview from Pretoria.

In the case of someone who is vaccinated or has a history of infection with COVID-19, it will spread to fewer people, she said, adding that unvaccinated people would potentially spread the virus 100%. .

“Existing vaccines would go a long way in reducing the spread because we know that you would only spread about 1/3 if you were vaccinated or had a history of Covid infection, while unvaccinated people would potentially spread the virus. 100% virus, ”she said. .

According to the South African expert, who first made the Omicron variant known to the world, the Covid pandemic is not yet over and will become endemic in the days to come.

She disagreed with the opinion of some experts that Covid is heading towards its end with the advent of Omicron, which is so far a relatively weaker variant of the coronavirus.

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” I do not think so. I think it will be difficult (for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to end soon). I suspect it will become rampant, ”she predicted.

“India will see an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by Omicron and simultaneously there will be a high positivity rate. But I hope the majority of cases will be as mild as what we are seeing here in South Africa, ”she added as India reported 415 cases of the Omicron variant on Saturday.

Of those, 115 have recovered or migrated, according to data from the Union’s health ministry.

In Coetzee’s view, any virus that grows uncontrollably will potentially be a threat to humans.

Discussing the character of the Omicron strain of Covid which is spreading rapidly across the world and has dampened year-end festivities in many parts of the country, Coetzee said it attacks “hot bodies” and also infects them. children.

“… For now, Omicron is not threatening but it is spreading rapidly with a high rate of infectivity, but less severe cases in hospitals. The sole purpose of the virus is to infect a hot body and to survive. And yes, children are also infected with it, but they recover in five to six days on average, ”she said.

Can the Omicron variant mutate again and change character? “Yes, it might mutate in the future to be more lethal, or not,” she said.

The 61-year-old doctor also believed that human behavior such as wearing masks as well as adhering to safety protocols for COVID-19 will play a huge role in controlling the transmission of Omicron.

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“You can’t rely on vaccines alone. Human behavior unfortunately also plays a huge role and you also have to be responsible and own what you do, ”she said.

“Vaccines, boosters, masks, good ventilation, stay away from crowds and common sense. Also know the symptoms and when to test, when to see a doctor and get treatment, ”said the famous South African doctor.

In India, Maharashtra recorded the highest number of 108 Omicron cases, followed by Delhi with 79, Gujarat 43, Telangana 38, Kerala 37, Tamil Nadu 34 and Karnataka 31.

Several states and union territories have passed ordinances banning gatherings on Christmas and New Years to restrict the spread of the virus.

The Department of Health has advised states and Union territories to be vigilant and monitor case positivity, doubling rate and cluster of new cases, and to consider imposing restrictions and local restrictions at Christmas and in the days leading up to the New Year.

According to the South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), 74% of all virus genomes he sequenced in November belonged to the Omicron variant. The first case was found in a sample taken on November 8 in Gauteng.

Data indicated that between November 14 and December 4, hospitalizations in South Africa were comparatively lower than when the country faced the peak linked to the Delta variant in July. The intensive care occupancy rate in South Africa was only 6.3% during this fortnight.

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