After Cities, Omicron COVID Cases Likely To Go Up In Villages: Experts

New Delhi: After big cities and metros, the third wave of COVID-19, driven by the Omicron variant is likely to turn to small towns and villages in soon in the coming weeks, said Dr Rajeev Jayadevan who is advising the COVID-19 task force at Indian Medical Association (IMA) Kochi, Kerala, citing the patterns followed by the previous coronavirus waves in the country. In an interview with news agency ANI, Dr Jayadevan said, “Each time, a wave first hit high mobility areas which include metro cities and then to smaller areas and villages. So, within the next few weeks, it (Omicron driven wave) will travel to the smaller cities or towns and then the villages. This is a trend that’s been observed worldwide.”Also Read – Stealth Omicron: What is The Fast Spreading Omicron BA.2 Sub-Variant That Can Escape RT-PCR Test?

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is in the community transmission stage in India and has become dominant in multiple metros where new cases have been rising exponentially, the INSACOG has said in its latest bulletin. Also Read – Omicron in Community Transmission Stage in India, Dominant Strain in Metro Cities, Confirms Govt Body

Dr Jayadevan refuted the reports about Omicron variant replacing other COVID variants and persisting in society as common cold. “That is not true in fact if you look at the history of the pandemic in the last two years, variants have all died down. In fact, there is no variant that is survived long enough to be dominant,” he said, adding that there may be a “few stray cases here and there.” Also Read – New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Cancels Her Wedding Amid New COVID Restrictions as Omicron Spreads

The doctor further cited an example of South Africa and said that it’s also unlikely that Delta variant will survive in the long run. “Six months apart the first wave was the original Wuhan variant, the second was Beta, the third was Delta and the fourth was Omicron. For India, we were hit by the original Wuhan variant back in March 2021 and then we got hit by Delta last year. Now this year, we have been hit by Omicron. So it is quite convincible that Omicron will hang around for a while. It’s unlikely that Delta will survive in the long run,” he stated.

Dr Jayadevan further stated that currently, both variants of COVID-19 present in India are behaving in a similar way and none of them is more dangerous than the other. “When Delta came, a large section of our population was scared because they had never seen the virus before and they were not vaccinated. Whereas, Omicron is reaching at a time when the vast majority of people have either had natural exposure to the virus or vaccinated,” he added.

Quoting some studies, the doctor said that Omicron behaves slightly different with different tissue cells and it is less amenable to cause infection in the lung. “I’m getting reports from the ground that lung disease specifically is lower with this (Omicron) variant,” the health expert said.

However, Dr Vivek Nangia, Principle Director and Head, Pulmonology at Max Hospital asserted that Omicron variant is unlike the Delta variant of coronavirus infection because people recover early in the case of Omicron infection.

Dr Nangia said Omicron strain has gone into a stage where it’s more into community spread than only spread by travellers coming from abroad, adding that people are developing COVID-19 symptoms even when they aren’t going out.

COVID-19 is heading towards ‘endemic’

A senior epidemiologist at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi on Sunday said SARS-CoV-2 which is commonly known as COVID-19 is heading towards an endemic stage.

Endemic is a stage where cases are confined to a particular geographical location and the cases are constantly present in low numbers in that specific area.

“Looking at the COVID-19 vaccination status and the natural infection, we can say that very soon, the majority of us will be getting an infection. And then this virus will convert into the endemic virus,” Dr Sanjay Rai told ANI here.

The AIIMS senior epidemiologist also remarked that those who recovered from the COVID are the best-protected people as of now based on the scientific evidence followed by vaccinated persons.

(With ANI Inputs)

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