Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir could see a major surge in Omicron cases during January-February as the variant is expected to spread at an “exponential” pace, doctors told Greater Kashmir.
“Omicron COVID-19 cases at present are showing exponential log rise,” senior Consultant, Anesthesia Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Masood Rashid, told Greater Kashmir.
“This variant of COVID is highly infectious. Omicron is 105% more transmissible than the Delta variant,” he said. “After attaining peak, Omicron cases will decrease as a part of the disease cycle. But we must ensure that we remain masked-up and restrict our movement during the present phase of rise,” he said, adding "Jan-Feb is going to be really crucial as far as this variant is concerned."
It may be recalled that according to WHO, Omicron has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves, for example, on how easily it spreads or the severity of illness it causes.
“Coming two weeks are really crucial and people should follow COVID appropriate behaviour across Jammu and Kashmir,” senior Neurosurgeon, Max Patpargunj, Delhi, Dr Anil Dhar, told Greater Kashmir.
Dr Dhar, who comes for conducting general OPDs in Kashmir quarterly, observed that people in Kashmir normally tend to have large gatherings and are generally seen not masked-up.
“Officials should ensure that COVID appropriate behaviour is followed,” he said. “Keeping in mind the increasing trends in Delhi and Mumbai. I think it should peak around the last week of Jan or 1st week of February.”
Director, Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, said that the spike should be no cause for panic. However, he urged people to follow SOPs in letter and spirit.
“We need to work on controlling Omicron’s transmissibility. And this can be only achieved with the positive support from the general masses,” he said. “Our earnest efforts are focused at ramping up booster dose vaccination so that the majority of the population is protected against severe disease,” Dr Rather said, adding “We are also focusing on protecting our high-risk population with vaccines.”
Spokesperson, Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Mir Mushtaq, told Greater Kashmir, the official machinery was closely monitoring the current COVID situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that all the district headquarters have been directed to keep a close vigil with regard to the rise in the cases.
“There is going to be an exponential surge in the number of cases in Kashmir. This could be gauged given the speed at which we are witnessing the rise in Omicron cases across Jammu and Kashmir,” Dr Mir said.
“So, we all need to gear up to challenge and put our hands and minds together to face this uphill task ahead in a coordinated and well-planned manner,” he said, adding “The CMOs, HoDs have been asked to focus on containment measures to limit transmission and ramp up coverage of double dose of vaccine.”
He said that the health officials are working to protect the vulnerable population. “Our focus continues to protect the least protected and those at high risk,” he said.