The next two to four weeks are absolutely critical and behaviour of the people, whether they protect themselves by masking properly, maintaining physical distance, will largely determine how the third wave will shape up, said director of public health, Dr G. Srinivasa Rao. PTI
Hyderabad: With the New Year celebrations barely a few hours away, the state health department has said that when 2022 comes around, it will bring with it the third wave of Covid to the state.
"We should be seeing a spike in Covid cases in the state in the next two to four weeks, anywhere from 10,000 a day to 30,000 a day," said director of public health, Dr G. Srinivasa Rao.
The third wave will be powered by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus which, he said, is already in the community. The pattern of the variant entering a country, and then into the community, has happened in the USA, Britain, and elsewhere and India. Telangana is no different, he added.
The next two to four weeks are absolutely critical and behaviour of the people, whether they protect themselves by masking properly, maintaining physical distance, will largely determine how the third wave will shape up, he said.
Warning that the Omicron variant has very high levels of infectivity, he said the silver lining was that most of such infections will be mild, with almost 90% of the people who catch it will most likely not even be aware of that. They will be the ones who will spread the disease, so everyone must mask up, and mask up properly, he said.
Dr Rao, however, predicted that "the third wave will not last for a long period and should subside in about three months. As a public health specialist, I can say that in about six months, Covid itself is likely to disappear."
The top health official said that while the overall caseload will increase, and about 10% of those infected in the third wave are likely to have symptoms and need hospital care, the real concern is about the one per cent of people who could fall sick. He pointed out that there are 55,442 beds to treat Covid patients in the state, apart from over 15,000 oxygen equipped and ICU beds in the government sector alone.
The thing about the Omicron infection is that the symptoms are similar to seasonal flu, so anyone with flu symptoms such as cold, or fever, must get tested, and if found to be Covid positive, then not worry about which variant they are infected with but stay isolated, and use the home isolation kit the government will provide. For most people, there will only be very mild symptoms and the treatment for the Omicron variant is no different than that offered to the other older variants of coronavirus. There is no cause, or need for panic, he said.
He said people must be careful as Omicron is known for breakthrough infections, and despite getting fully vaccinated, and or having experienced Covid earlier, people are still catching the Omicron variant.