Omicron cases; caution and concern

While the optimistic hope that the variant of COVID -virus, Omicron would not spread in the country to an extent causing concern, there are others too who claim that the third wave of the pandemic, probably the new variant is a matter of time only. We in Jammu and Kashmir, as also in Ladakh, for the last over a month are witnessing consistency in reporting of fresh cases testing positive and a few deaths too taking place though claimed largely on account of the infected ones suffering from a few co- morbidities too. As many as 104 new cases as on date having been reported in the UT while in Ladakh 13 new cases, though not a cause of much concern, should equally not be taken as something of a routine but with strict precautions resorted to without fail and only then, can an imminent spread be averted.
As on date, total cases of the infection have crossed the figure of 215 in the country in which the State of Maharashtra is leading with the number of reported fresh cases. Delhi also has many such cases indicating that measures like banning congregations on the approaching festivals like Christmas and other social functions like New Year celebrations could either be banned or regulated strictly to permissible safe numbers. Cause of concern is more than the earlier two waves due to the fact of the new variant is transmissible as much as three times than the earlier two versions of the virus. Added to it, is another concern that whether the variant can circumvent vaccine protection. Alternately, could there be decrease in effectiveness of medical measures like diagnostics, therapeutics and other social measures in controlling the virus, nothing for sure is yet known. Equally, whether a booster dose, therefore, was necessary to be given to all those already vaccinated in the country as a sufficient precaution possible under the sky, specific medical and expert advice in this regard too are awaited.
Jammu and Kashmir too has reported some cases of Omicron and appropriate action by the administration by way of declaring those specific pointed areas as micro containment zones followed by testing others living there, for the virus and those having come into the contact of the infected ones, are measures required to nip the evil ( the virus) in the bud. The satisfying note, however, is that the three Omicron cases in Jammu are reported to be stable and even have now tested negative for the virus. The claims that travel has got something to do with the mode of spread, the concerned three cases, however, are reported to be having had no travel history at all. The time, however, is not to go in the intricacies of those areas which are the exclusive domain of the medical experts in respect of the new variant but use every effort to see that the infection did not spread at all.
By now, genome sequencing testing facilities must have been provided in the twin capital cities of the UT about which a few days back, we voiced our concern for not having been provided the same so far which will smoothen and expedite the testing capabilities and accuracies about the new variant omicron in the samples collected for suspected infected persons. About the variant Omicron, conflicting beliefs notwithstanding about various characteristics, however, one thing is fully confirmed about its spreading fast and that is enough to put all on alert. Lessons learnt, wisdom gained and travails undergone in respect of the two previous ”versions” of the virus must make us wiser enough to have no complacency about observing precautionary protocol without any fail. The Government, therefore, must see to it that it was in full preparedness to meet with any eventuality but at the same time, must enforce precautionary measures very strictly.