Patna: The speedy surge of covid cases in the country is believed to be driven by Omicron. The cases are doubling which is a sign of omicron, which is more transmissible than Delta.

Spike in Covid-l9 infections in the last fortnight driven by first omicron case in Bihar indicates that the third wave is fast catching up in the state, said Dr Naresh Purohit, Advisor - National Communicable Disease Control Programme .

The renowned Pandemic Control Expert Dr Purohit informed that Bihar recorded its first Omicron case on Thursday after a man, who had recently travelled from Delhi, tested positive for the new variant of the Covid-19 virus.

He warned   that the rise in the omicron  cases in the country could go on to become “significant” and may not be mild necessarily, as is being speculated.

Noted Epidemiologist Dr Purohit stated that reproduction number R, which denotes how fast the disease is spreading, has crossed the value of 1 in several states, the threshold after which cases begin to rise rapidly. R0 value above 1 means, every positive individual is infecting more than one person.

He pointed for India as a whole, the R value is still less than 1, but it’s showing signs of inching up. A surge cannot be ruled out.

Principal Investigator for National Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme  Dr Purohit cautioned that Omicron infects younger people more than the earlier variants, creating a reservoir effect, further enhancing community transmission in the entire population.

Even if disease frequency is low, the sheer magnitude of infections may lead to large numbers of disease cases within a relatively short time span, with a potential to overwhelm our fragile and fatigued health care system.

He added that senior citizens, all those with diseases or therapies that lower their immune status, all with risk-enhancing co-morbidities, and pregnant women may have to face the onslaught of disease. 

He pointed that currently, more than 85% of adults have taken their first dose, 55% have completed two doses. These, along with the approximately 85% of adults with past infection (data from post-second wave estimate supported by the 4th seroprevalence study) represent a strong wall of population immunity. 

"But Omicron is notorious for its ability to evade immunity."he added.

He emphasised for the  need to bolster the wall of immunity further to protect the vulnerable people and prevent a rapid spread of infections.The best way  is to ensure that the protective triad of wearing masks, avoiding crowds and all getting properly vaccinated is strictly adhered to.