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AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria urges people not to panic over Omicron as data shows severity is lower for disease caused by Delta

As Indian cities began administering the Covid-19 vaccine to adolescents aged 15 to 18 from January 3, India reported 33,750 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, up from 27,553 the January 2. At the same time, the head of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi urged people not to panic.

According to AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria, the extremely contagious variant of Omicron primarily affects the upper respiratory tract and airways, rather than the lungs, which is why “we are seeing very fewer patients with decreased blood pressure. oxygen saturation or the other serious symptoms we’ve seen. in Delta ”.

He said people without comorbidities shouldn’t panic and asked them not to block hospital beds. Guleria urged Covid-19 patients to self-isolate at home due to the new variant’s short recovery time.

“What we’re seeing here is more fever, runny nose, sore throat and a lot of body aches and headaches. If any of these symptoms persist, they should come forward and get tested. Because then they can isolate themselves and prevent the infection from spreading to other people in the community, ”he said recently. Indian express.

The head of AIIMS also stresses the importance of leaving hospital beds vacant for those most vulnerable to serious illnesses.

He said: “It’s important to understand that, unlike last time around, this new variant doesn’t cause oxygen saturation to drop as much. Therefore, in those without co-morbidities, the emphasis should be on home isolation. “

“You should work on a home isolation strategy and not put yourself in panic situations, blocking beds in hospitals, which is not necessary. The data also suggests that recovery occurs much faster, so people will tend to improve faster, ”Guleria noted.

Expert believes that while the pandemic is not over, India is in a much better position at the start of the new year due to high levels of immunity resulting from previous exposure and vaccination coverage of the second dose reaching 60%. In addition, he said that “we are seeing an increase in the number of new cases; it is therefore time to be more vigilant ”.

According to Guleria, “We are also better prepared in terms of facilities. Whether it’s medical oxygen plants, intensive care beds, ventilators. So in terms of preparedness and immune response, we’re in a better position. “

At present, as several states have imposed restrictions related to the pandemic, including West Bengal, Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Haryana, the AIIMS chief has suggested that the most powerful weapon effective against the new variant would be appropriate behavior for Covid. Guleria said: “Wearing your mask correctly when you go out, maintaining a physical distance and washing your hands is key. “

While talking about the new variant, he said that data received so far from Europe, the United States and South Africa, it appears that Omicron is causing mild illness, flu-like symptoms and “the hospital and oxygen requirements are very low”. He also explained that according to the available data, vaccines would also be able to provide protection against serious illness or death.

“It is very important that those who have not been vaccinated due to vaccine hesitancy come in and get vaccinated. And also, some of them who missed their second dose, feeling that the pandemic is over, should come forward and take the second dose, ”he noted.

However, Guleria is also concerned that indoor events could become super-spreaders and produce a spike, as the Omicron is a highly infectious variant. He urged people to avoid crowded places, especially a place with poor ventilation.

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