Need to gear up

Are we going to see COVID again in 2023?
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Representational ImageSource: Miroslava Chrienova from Pixabay

The threat of Covid looms large once again as we prepare to enter 2023. It all started once again in China which relaxed its Zero Covid policy in mid-December 2022.

The resurgence of Covid and emergence of BF.7 Omicron variant has reportedly led to the country swarmed with fresh cases and according to reports emerging from there 100,000 deaths are likely by the end of the year. Likewise, USA, Brazil, South Korea and Japan have simultaneously reported a spurt in cases.

What happened to China? The reasons could be manifold. Their vaccination program not very robust, elderly people not vaccinated, the data of the protection given by the Sino vaccine not so good and the policy of remaining isolated did not produce herd immunity and the continued vulnerability.

What could be the repercussions of this in our country and especially in our valley ? Our population is adequately vaccinated with a good and a very well tested vaccine, Covishield or Covaxin, with most having had 2 doses and many even the preventive 3rd dose. A large percentage of the population has had infection too leading to achievement of herd immunity.

Variants like XBB isolated in October 2022 and now the threat of BF.7 all point towards that we need to boost our immunity. This is particularly true for the elderly population (more than 65 years of age), health care workers, people with co-morbidities like diabetes, high BP and those on drugs like steroids and anti-cancer or post organ transplant patients.

A booster dose of the vaccine is therefore in order for those where more than 1 year has elapsed after their last dose. It is also important to remember that vaccination does not prevent us from getting infected but reduces the severity of the infection, minimizing the need for hospitalization and mortality.

The much talked about Omicron BF.7 variant is very infective leads to symptoms like fever, body aches , cough usually is not a feature but symptoms like pain abdomen and non-specific malaise is common.

It is best to prevent getting infected. Covid appropriate behaviour should be put into place again. Proper wearing of masks should be resumed in public places, hand hygiene use of sanitizer and observing adequate distancing are the cardinal rules.

These good habits also prevent spread of other infections like influenzas and diarrhoeas etc. Travelling needs to be minimized too, till we are clear about the situation which might take up to 3 months.

All the suspected cases should be reported and tested to find out the genome sequencing, which will help in identifying the causative agent. Let us not be caught unawares as happened in the last 2 years especially during the infection with the delta strain in 2021, which had high mortality.

Founder Director Gauri Kaul foundation, Recipient of Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy Award 

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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