Omicron milder; home isolation is sufficient for those without comorbidities: AIIMS chief

News Network
January 2, 2022

New Delhi, Jan 2: With Covid-19 cases starting to mount in the country, the chief of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, said that there was no need for people without comorbidities to panic and urged them not to block hospital beds.

Dr Randeep Guleria, the AIIMS chief, said that the Omicron variant mainly affects the upper respiratory tract and airways, rather than the lungs even as 27,553 cases were reported on Sunday morning, according to a report by The Indian Express.

Guleria advised patients to isolate at home, citing low recovery time for the new variant. “Omicron is affecting the upper respiratory tract and more of the airways, rather than the lungs. That is why we see very fewer patients with a drop in oxygen saturation or the other severe symptoms we saw in Delta. What we are seeing here is more of fever, running nose, sore throat, and a lot of body ache and headache. If any of these symptoms persist, they should come forward and get themselves tested. Because then they can isolate themselves and prevent the infection from spreading to other people in the community,” he was quoted by the publication.

On Sunday, the Union Health Ministry announced the detection of 1,525 Omicron cases through genomic surveillance, of whom 560 have fully recovered.

Guleria said that hospital beds should be left free to those who are more vulnerable to severe disease. “There is no need to panic. It is important to understand that, unlike last time, this new variant doesn’t cause that much of a fall in oxygen saturation. Therefore, the focus in those who don’t have comorbidities should be home isolation. You should work on a home-isolation strategy, and not get into panic situations, blocking beds in hospitals, which is not required. Data also suggests that recovery happens much faster, therefore people will tend to improve faster,” he told the publication.

Guleria said that the country was “in a much better position at the beginning of the new year” due to high levels of immunity from past exposure, as well as the extensive vaccination coverage.

“It is time to be more vigilant. We are seeing a new variant in the form of Omicron, but we are in a much better position at the beginning of the new year compared to last year. That is because of multiple factors,” he said.

Guleria said that a large number of people have also got immunity because of natural infection, and serosurvey data suggests high immunity in the general population. “We are also better prepared in terms of facilities. Whether it is medical oxygen plants, ICU beds, ventilators. So in terms of preparation and our immune response, we are in a better position,” he told the publication.

Guleria also warned that indoor events can turn super-spreaders and cause a spike. “More importantly, because this is a very highly infectious variant, avoiding crowds, which can be a super spreading event, is also important. Especially, indoor events, where there is poor ventilation, can be one area where one can see a surge in cases,” he was quoted as saying.

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News Network
January 11,2022

Lucknow/New Delhi: In a massive jolt to the BJP and Yogi Adityanath just before the Uttar Pradesh election, a minister and three MLAs quit and joined the party's main challenger, Akhilesh Yadav. Swami Prasad Maurya, a top minister and backward caste leader in the Yogi Adityanath government, posted his resignation letter on Twitter.

Soon after he went public, three more MLAs, Roshan Lal Verma, Brijesh Prajapati and Bhagwati Sagar announced their resignations.

Reports suggest Mr Maurya may take a few more ministers and MLAs with him.

"Despite a divergent ideology, I worked with dedication in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet. But because of the grave oppression of Dalits, OBCs, farmers, unemployed and small businessmen, I am resigning," Swami Prasad Maurya wrote in the stinging resignation letter.

He told reporters: "What impact my exit will have on the BJP will be obvious after the 2022 assembly election."

As his letter emerged on Twitter, Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a photograph with Mr Maurya, welcoming him and his supporters to the Samajwadi Party. "I warmly welcome Swami Prasad Maurya, a leader who fights for social justice and equality, and all his supporters. There will be a revolution in social justice. Chang is coming in 2022," Mr Yadav tweeted in Hindi.

On cue, Roshan Lal Verma, a three-time MLA, declared that he was leaving the BJP with Mr Maurya.

Keshav Prasad Maurya, Deputy Chief Minister, posted an appeal on Twitter: "I don't know why Swami Prasad Maurya quit but I appeal to him, don't quit but let us talk. Decisions taken in haste can backfire."

The exits in Lucknow began as Yogi Adityanath and top BJP leaders met in Delhi to discuss Uttar Pradesh election strategy.

Mr Maurya, a powerful OBC (Other Backward Class) leader and multiple-term MLA, joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Mr Maurya is the BJP MLA from Padrauna in eastern Uttar Pradesh. His daughter Sanghamitra is a BJP MP from UP.

Uttar Pradesh, India's most politically vital state, votes from February 10 in seven rounds in an election widely seen as a semifinal of sorts before the national election of 2024. The results will be declared on March 10.

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News Network
January 13,2022

With Covid-19 cases surging in India, clouds have formed over the likelihood of India being the venue for the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI)  is mulling holding the league outside of India amid the ongoing scenario. However, unlike the past two years where the IPL has been partially or fully held in UAE because of the pandemic, the BCCI is now keen to look at other options for the flagship event.

Cricket board officials are considering South Africa and Sri Lanka as their backup options for IPL 2022, according to a report in The Indian Express.

“We can’t be dependent on UAE all the time so we decided to explore more options, South Africa’s time difference also works out well for the players,” a BCCI official told the publication.

South Africa, so far, has hosted two cricket series and has impressed BCCI officials for the way the country handled the Indian players.

“The place where the team was staying for the second Test is spread over several acres. There were walking tracks and even a pond on the property and that has made things easier for the players who for the last couple of years or so have been confined to their rooms on several overseas tours,” an official said.

A BCCI official, recently said that the board is prioritising holding the tournament in India but the decision will be dependent on what the state governments decide.

BCCI had to postpone the upcoming edition of the Ranji Trophy indefinitely due to the rise in Covid cases in the camps. The domestic U19 Behar Trophy was also halted midway for the same reason.

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News Network
January 14,2022

India's Covid-19 cases surged further on Friday as the nation reported 2,64,202 new Covid-19 infections, 6.7 per cent higher than yesterday, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

With today's spike, the nation's total tally of Covid-19 cases jumped to 3,65,82,129 which includes 5,753 cases of the Omicron variant, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday. There has been a 4.83 per cent increase in Omicron cases since Thursday.

The  active cases have increased to 12,72,073, the highest in 220 days, while the death toll has climbed to 4,85,350 with 315 fresh fatalities.

The  active cases comprises 3.48 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate has decreased to 95.20 per cent, the ministry said.

A total 2,76,110 coronavirus infections were reported in a single day on May 19.

An increase of 1,54,542 cases has been recorded in the active Covid-19 caseload in a span of  24 hours.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 14.78 per cent while the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 11.83 per cent, according to the ministry.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 3,48,24,706, while the case fatality rate  was recorded at 1.33 per cent. 

The cumulative doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive has exceeded 155.39 crore.

While Omicron represents a new virus evolutionarily different from the Delta or previous variants, experts believe that the third wave is largely following the migratory pattern of the previous two waves.

Speaking on Thursday at a panel discussion titled Variants, Vaccines and Us, virologist Dr V Ravi, a member of Karnataka's Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), noted that the outbreak will potentially peak in the city by the end of the month, before moving to other districts.

India's Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. 

India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23. 

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