With Omicron replacing Delta, it’s a good time to open up city: Experts
Even as the virus remains in circulation in low numbers, experts believe that Mumbai will avoid fatalities if guidelines are followed stringently and those who are eligible, take both their jabs
Mumbai With the latest genome sequencing results indicating that the Omicron variant has replaced the Delta, experts feel it is a good time for the city to open up.
Even as the virus remains in circulation in low numbers, experts believe that Mumbai will avoid fatalities if guidelines are followed stringently and those who are eligible, take both their jabs.
“It’s the perfect time for the city to open up, but we cannot be ignorant about wearing masks, maintaining social distance and following other Covid-appropriate behaviour if we want normalcy to sustain,” said Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the Covid task force.
“We don’t have a thick tail of the third wave and those getting infected are mostly asymptomatic. Also, in symptomatic cases, mostly the upper respiratory tract is infected, indicating a shift from Delta to Omicron,” he said and added that indoor masking and ventilation is crucial too.
The civic body on Thursday revealed that 100% of the 237 samples that were most recently sequenced by them had the Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant. In a recent note, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that Omicron is currently the dominant variant circulating globally.
“In India, we did have both BA.1 and BA.2 subvariant but the BA.2 variant fast overtook the former,” said Vellore-based virologist Dr T Jacob John. “We don’t have any new variant in sight and the Omicron wave is almost over. It is an apt time to begin economic activities, schools, colleges and other institutions. But vigilance is necessary,” he said.
The Delta variant caused severe infections and mortality compared to the Omicron. Experts are now largely worried about reinfections post Omicron. According to the WHO, studies are evaluating the risk of reinfection with BA.2 compared to BA.1. “Reinfection with BA.2 following infection with BA.1 has been documented, however, initial data from population-level reinfection studies suggest that infection with BA.1 provides strong protection against reinfection with BA.2, at least for the limited period for which data are available,” the WHO states.
Omicron is made up of several sub-lineages. Of them, the most common ones are BA.1, BA.1.1 and BA.2. “At a global level, the proportion of reported sequences designated BA.2 has been increasing relative to BA.1 in recent weeks, however, the global circulation of all variants is reportedly declining,” the WHO stated, adding that initial data has suggested that BA.2 appears to be inherently more transmissible.