- It’s 2022, the third year of the pandemic. And hopefully the last.
- Omicron surge is now global.
- What should we do, shut ourselves up again or go about our lives?
Because this seems like an endless cycle. Let me show you what happened with a woman in the US. She’s a teacher. A few days back, she boarded a flight from Chicago to Iceland. On the flight, her throat started hurting. As luck would have it, she was carrying a rapid Covid test with her. She tested herself. The result was positive.
Now, remember, she was still on the flight 5 hours to go for landing.
Do you know what she did?
She locked herself up in the laboratory. You could say this is one of the most dramatic instances of voluntary self-isolation. Upon landing, she checked herself at a Red Cross hotel and she remained isolated until she recovered.
There were 150 other passengers on the flight with her. What do you think would have happened had they found out that they were traveling with a covert positive patient, it would have led to panic. So she took a flight attendant into confidence who gave her food and drinks through the remainder of her journey and attended to her.
- What do you make of this story?
- Is there a lesson here?
- And why are we discussing this teacher tonight?
Because she set an example. She boarded the flight well prepared. She did not panic. She did not make others panic. She took the steps that needed to be taken and ensured the safety of others while taking care of herself.
I’m telling you the story so that you know that there are ingenious solutions to difficult situations.
Now it’s a fact that cases are rising. This is not the first wave in this pandemic, and by all indications, it won’t be the last.
So what do we do?
The world needs a new mantra to deal with the virus. Prevent, not panic. Prepare not to panic.
we’ll talk about how to deal with the Wuhan virus in 2022. We’ll begin as always, with the numbers. Omicron has become the dominant variant worldwide. It has reached 132 countries and territories.
How many cases now?
Well over 400,000.
How many deaths?
85. So far?
Do you know how much that is?
In percentage terms, 0.02.
And that is the major takeaway. The death toll from Omicron is not even 1%.
What about India?
The trend is more or less similar. There is a massive spike in cases more than 30,000 tested positive in the last 24 hours. So far, 1700 patients have Omicron in India, 23 States and Union territories have reported cases. 639 Omicron patients have recovered already.
How many deaths in India with omicron?
2 So far.
Again, that’s less than 1%.
And by the way, India began vaccinating teenagers. Today, 15 to 18 year olds. They are now eligible. 4 million teenagers got a shot today. So if you’re eligible, make sure you register yourself and get the vaccine back to Omicron.
It is confusing the world. The infections are mild again. Good news. But here’s the problematic part.No matter which varient of the Wuhan virus infects you, you’re still at the risk of Long Covid, so we may recover immediately.
But it’s not clear what kind of danger still lurks. going by one study, more than 100 million survivors, 100 million people worldwide suffer from Long Covid. These are people who were infected once they recovered, but they still keep falling ill again and again. The symptoms never really go away.
What kind of symptoms?
- shortness of breath
- joint pain
- memory problems like brain fog
- Some or all of them persist.
And it may be the same with Omicron. Anywhere between 10 to 30% of the patients could still get long Covid. And that’s not something to be taken lightly.
Imagine what happens if millions of patients keep coming back to the hospital. No global health care system is designed to handle such a massive caseload.
In fact, many are already struggling with Omicron.
Look at the United States. It’s reporting about 4000 new cases a day. These are Wuhan virus infections, including Omicron, 400,000 patients testing positive every day. Among the latest is US Secretary of State Lloyd Austin. He tested positive on Sunday.
Now, these are way too many cases. Many American hospitals are overwhelmed. As of last week, six major health systems in Georgia were reporting a massive surge in hospitalization. They’ve jumped by 100% to 200%. Patients were asked to get their Wuhan virus tests elsewhere.
Doctors and health workers wanted to focus on the emergency room, same with Louisiana.
Hospitalization tripled in two weeks. America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci has issued a warning. He says more people could need hospitalization does seem to have lower intrinsic pathogenicity to it. We’re hoping that’s the case. But having said that, George, I want to say one thing. We’ve got to be careful about that because even if you have less of a percentage of severity when you have multi, multi, multifold, more people getting infected.
The net amount is you’re still going to get a lot of people that are going to be needing hospitalization. And that’s the reason why we’re concerned about stressing and straining the hospital system.
It isn’t just the US. Israel is among the most vaccinated countries in the world. Even they are struggling with rising caseloads in eleven days, new cases have more than quadrupled.
Let me show you some pictures.
These cars are not looking for a parking spot. They’re carrying people who want to get tested for the Wuhan virus. The lines are seemingly endless. In Jerusalem and Ashdod, local health officials have a dire prediction. One-third of the population could get infected in three weeks.
Israel is already running out of test kits. They are now being forced to ration. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett might change the criteria for testing. Reports say going forward, only those showing symptoms would be allowed to take the test.
Bennett believes Omicron needs a new approach. Omicron is not Delta. It’s a different ball game altogether. We must keep our eye on the ball, act swiftly and decisively if we want to continue engaging and working with an open country as much as possible.
Throughout this pandemic, the rising number of cases could result in herd immunity. That’s what the director general of the Israeli Health Ministry has said.
The cost will be a great many infections. The numbers will have to be very high in order to reach herd immunity. This is possible, but we don’t want to reach herd immunity by means of infections. We want it to happen as a result of many people vaccinating. That would be ideal. But that’s not how it’s playing out.
Moral of the story.
- Vaccines are only part of the solution.
- Israel is giving the second booster and yet reporting a surge.
- Cases are rising and very fast.
- Omecron has spread to more than 100 countries.
- A wave is unavoidable wherever you are.
- Cases are mild, so it won’t be as devastating as Delta.
- vaccines and masks are still our best bet.
Our health systems can cope with the surge only when they’re not overwhelmed. And for that to happen, you need to follow the rules. You don’t have to stop your life. Living with the new variant is the new normal.
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