While the official number of Omicron cases in India is estimated to be nearly 1, 500, in reality, it could be more than 10 times that – as high as 18,000 – with the number shooting up every day, according to NDTV.
Two major labs, one each in Delhi and in Mumbai, testing for Omicron, show that of all Covid cases, Omicron is now as high as nearly 60 per cent. Another Omicron lab in Mumbai is also likely to show in its next report that Omicron is 60 per cent, up from 37 per cent just a week ago.
This is both good news and bad news for India. The good news is that Omicron causes less severe infections than Delta. A higher percentage of Delta patients are hospitalised with a higher percentage of deaths, too, compared with Omicron.
This suggests that if this third wave accelerates in India like it has across the rest of the world, India could see between 16 lakhs to 20 lakh cases every day at its peak compared with the compared with the 4 lakh Delta cases that India had at the peak of our second wave.
Six of 100 Delta cases need hospitalisation, and let’s say only half that, three out of 100 Omicron cases need hospitalisation, take a look at the huge consequences: the second wave peaked at four lakh Delta cases, resulting in about 24,000 hospital admissions, and in the worst scenario, a third wave peak of 20 lakh Omicron cases would result in 60,000 Omicron hospitalisations per day.
The one positive India can hope for is that the Omicron wave, though much worse than the Delta wave, may not last as long. Data from South Africa shows that Omicron waves tend to both spike faster and die away quicker than Delta waves.
Nevertheless, India does not appear to be preparing itself for what, at its worst, could be a terrible third wave ahead. It needs to focus immediately on much bigger and focused preparations.
With inputs from NDTV