India is battling the fast transmitting Omicron variant as the number of daily cases continues to rise for the past few days. There are some who have said that metro cities like Mumbai and Delhi are already witnessing the third wave of the COVID-19. In fact, the positivity rate in the national capital is already above 8.3 per cent and has forced the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to impose a weekend curfew. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain recently said that 81 per cent of the samples sequenced were found to have the Omicron variant. The situation in the financial capital is no different with the number of cases in the last 24 hours rising to over 10,000. But most people infected with the new variant have mild symptoms and this is why the hospitalizations are marginally less. Most of the people being tested positive are being asked to home quarantine.
Omicron Is Less Severe
More evidence has emerged that the Omicron variant is less severe than all previous variants. Research by Imperial College London has found that those infected with the COVID-19 are 50-60 per cent less likely to be hospitalized.
Data from South Africa, where the variant was first detected, shows that people who have been tested positive with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 are 80 per cent less likely to be taken to hospital.
Why Is It Being Considered Less Serious?
This ‘variant of concern’ is being considered less serious because around half a dozen studies have found that it does not damage the lungs of patients as much as the Delta or other previous variants.
WHO Incident Manager Abdi Mahamud said that the variant is only affecting the upper respiratory tract. This is the reason it is resulting in milder symptoms than previous strains.
“We are seeing more and more studies pointing out that Omicron is infecting the upper part of the body. Unlike the other ones, that could cause severe pneumonia,” Mahamud was quoted as saying.