Just when we all thought the pandemic is over and things are going back to normalcy, COVID-19 cases again started to rise across the world. This time, Omicron's sub-variant, BA.2 is likely to take over. We are already seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases in parts of Asia and Europe because of this new sub-variant.
There has been a rapid increase in coronavirus cases in countries like Malaysia, South Korea, New Zealand and it has pushed the panic button here in India.
What Is BA.2?
BA.2 is a sublineage of the fifth variant, Omicron. This sub-variant was first detected in South Africa last year in the month of November. As per the World Health Organisation, this surge in COVID-19 cases due to the new variant will not only be limited to China and Western Europe.
Omicron variant is currently dominant across the world and it is made up of several sublineages. The most common sublineages of Omicron are - BA.1, BA.1.1 and BA.2. BA.2 has been increasing relatively to other sublineages recently and the spread of all other variants is declining as per reports.
What Does WHO Has To Say?
Misinformation Around COVID-19
WHO's COVID-19 Technical Lead Maria Van Kerkhove recently in a conference shared that misinformation around the deadly coronavirus is leading to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the world. She pointed out at one big misinformation which is the pandemic is over, Omicron is mild and is the last variant of COVID-19.She said, "We have huge amounts of misinformation that's out there. The misinformation that Omicron is mild. Misinformation that the pandemic is over. Misinformation that this is the last variant that we will have to deal with. This is really causing a lot of confusion."
Transmissibility Of BA.2
We do not see changes in severity of BA.2 compared to BA.1 at population levels. However, w/huge numbers of cases, you will see an increase in hospitalizations & that in turn has translated into increased deaths... primarily in people not vaxxed or partially vaxxed @mvankerkhovepic.twitter.com/xsOehCZQhU— Cleavon MD 💉 💉 💉 (@Cleavon_MD) March 19, 2022
Maria Van Kerkhove next pointed out at the transmissibility of the sub-variant, BA.2. She shared that this one appears to be the most transmissible variant. She said, "We do not see changes in the severity of BA.2 compared to BA.1 at population levels. However, with huge numbers of cases, you will see an increase in hospitalizations & that in turn has translated into increased deaths."
Severity Of Omicron BA.2
We spoke to Dr. Mukesh Singh, Senior Resident (Medicine) and asked him about the severity of the sub-variant. He said, "Severity of the variant is yet to assess as their has not been much information about it in India and recent outbreak in China reveals that it's spreading at very high pace in multiple cities in China but severity is not like the previous variants as per data from Chinese government."
Symptoms Of Omicron BA.2
Omicron BA.2 has symptoms which are quite similar to the previous variants like fever, difficulty in breathing, diarrhea, abdominal pain, myalgia among others. (Common COVID symptoms among kids)
Who Is At Higher Risk?
People who are not vaccinated are at the highest risk and immuncompromised people also carry a high risk of getting infected to this new variant, BA.2.
Treatment Of Omicron BA.2
The expert shared that the treatment for this new variant depends on the severity of the patient. However, any patient developing symptoms mentioned should undergo doctor consultation immediately.
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Coronavirus Fourth Wave In India
After reports of a spike in COVID-19 cases in European countries and other neighbouring countries, Maharashtra government has issued an alert. The government is urging people to follow all COVID-19 protocols while stepping out. Earlier also, Maharashtra was worst hit by the third wave of the pandemic. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope received a letter from the Center regarding the same recently.
If we look at the numbers, as per the state health department, 394 people recovered from COVID-19 last week, there are currently 1680 active cases and recently 17 new cases came up.
Recently, Karnataka Health and Family Welfare minister K Sudhakar also addressed a meeting where he talked about the fourth wave. During his address, he shared that the fourth wave in the country has been predicted for the month of August. He further shared how the state is preparing each day to cope with the fourth wave of the coronavirus. He said, "A total of 265 laboratories have been established and the testing capacity has been increased 2.5 lakh per day. With the experience of three years, doctors are well equipped to provide treatment.”
Vaccination can prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you haven't yet taken your vaccine, take it on priority to reduce the risk of getting infected with this new sub-variant. Also, vaccination alone isn't enough. You must take all the COVID-19 precautions to prevent yourself from getting infected. In case, you suffer from any of the aforementioned symptoms, make sure you consult a doctor immediately and isolate yourself to further prevent its spread.
If you have any other questions related to Omicron BA.2, write to us on our Facebook page and we will get it all answered for you by our expert. For more such stories, stay tuned!
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