The recent increase in Covid cases is not a new wave, but a part of the third wave caused by the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus causing SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to the government's top expert on viral infection.
Despite the rise in cases, he emphasised that there is no cause for concern, but the government will continue to keep a close eye on the situation.
He also stated that positivity rate and number of cases are not important but the important factor to consider is that hospital admissions have not increased.
NK Arora, Chairman of India's COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), in an interview with NDTV said, "Infections recorded recently are mild, and the patients heal in four to five days. The chances of serious illness are low".
He noted no rise in Covid hospitalisations or deaths and stated that while the virus's new strain spreads quickly, it is not causing severe illness.
Elderly people and patients with comorbidities had the highest hospital admissions and deaths. Although infection rates remain high and likely to persist, severe illness is not being seen due to Covid, he said.
Arora attributed surge in cases to Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.16, accompanied by its numerous sub-variants.
"Around 450 mutations have been seen in the last 15 months," he said.
Arora emphasized the importance of booster doses and stated that only 27-28 per cent people have received them. He urged the elderly to get the booster shot if they haven't already.
"Children are not affected as much as they have been in the last three years. They are getting infected, but either have mild or no symptoms," he said, adding that infections aren't likely to be high in children.
Arora noted that as per India's national policy, only children above 12 are vaccinated in the vaccination programme. He also mentioned that over 90 per cent of those aged 12 to 18 have received the vaccine.
Vaccines for children over 12, including Covovax, ZyCoV-D, Corbevax, and Covaxin, are available, he informed, adding that there's no policy yet for those under 12.
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