Saturday, August 20, 2022

Omicron Threat Looms Large

By The Editorial Team Updated: Dec 20, 2021 9:25 pm

The new Covid variant Omicron is threatening to be more severe in transmissibility than earlier variants by reaching over 80 countries in very little time. Virologists have also warned against becoming lax in the face of the Omicron variant as it is capable of posing a bigger impact on global health. The new variant has already forced the United Kingdom (UK) to declare ‘Omicron Emergency’ as per the advice of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSJTM). According to a report by the institute, Omicron may claim nearly 25 thousand lives in between December, 2021 to May, 2022, if strict restrictions are not imposed. It is expected that the UK may impose stricter restrictions after Christmas. A few other European states have also imposed similar restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease. The Netherlands has already cautioned its citizens to face curbs even during the festive season. The United States of America (USA) has also come under the grip of this disease with New York being the epicenter once again; other continents are also facing similar situations.

In India, though the number of persons infected by the new variant have reached the three figure mark, there is still no reason to panic. Early detection and isolation are key to keeping the number of infected persons under control. But the country faces several challenges in the coming days to keep the disease at bay. With Christmas and New Year knocking at the door, five states will go to polls in the beginning of the next year when the third wave is expected to hit India. It will be a great challenge for authorities to keep the infection under check during that period when huge gatherings are bound to happen. Thus without wasting any time, preparations should be made well in advance to face any eventuality. It may be mentioned here that the first two waves caught us completely off-guard. We should not commit the same mistake once again.       

But the million dollar question is when will the world be able to get rid of this lethal virus which has already claimed 5.3 million lives worldwide, apart from causing huge financial loss. It seems that the world has no plans either to combat the pandemic or to save its populace. While rich nations are only interested in keeping their citizens safe, people living in third world nations are still waiting to be vaccinated against the disease. The origin of Covid-19 is yet to be ascertained, but it is known that the African continent is the origin of the Omicron variant where the rate of vaccination is very los. In such a situation, WHO should adopt a more active role, rather than remaining a mere spectator. Moreover, it is important to remember that imposition of restrictions to contain the disease have proven to be counterproductive as such steps are detrimental to economic growth and livelihood. The world needs to discard the rich-poor divide when it comes to combating the pandemic, and the entire adult population needs to be vaccinated on a war footing.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Dec 20, 2021 9:25:06 pm