The third COVID-19 surge saw younger in-patients with lesser proportions of all symptoms (and mainly sore throat), lesser use of drugs, and significantly improved outcomes, said the Health Ministry on Thursday.
“Deaths reported were significantly lower (10%) in the fully vaccinated, where 91% of those who died had co-morbidities, as opposed to deaths in the unvaccinated (21%), where 83% of the deceased had co-morbidities. This goes to prove that vaccination offers significant protection,’’ head of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr. Balram Bhargava, said.
Dr. Bhargava explained that the comparative demographic and clinical study of the two COVID-19 waves indicated the Omicron surge saw younger inpatients — 44 years as opposed to 55 years earlier — whereas a comparison of co-morbidities stood at 46% versus the 66% earlier, and sore throat was reported in 29% as opposed to 16% patients earlier.Another significant data released at the weekly Health Ministry press conference said present data indicated that unlike the evidence seen during the earlier surge, with the current variant, surgery is safe and not associated with higher chances of complications or deaths in COVID-19 positive patients.
“Therefore, patients who need surgery need not be denied surgical intervention presently,’’ Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, said.He added that though there is currently a decline in COVID-19 cases reported in the country, there were still 15,33,921 active cases as of Thursday. India reported a peak of 3,47,254 cases on January 21, which is less than the previous peak of 4,14,188 cases.
“A continued surge in COVID-19 cases is being observed globally. There are more than 7.35 crore active cases in the world and 31.32 lakh average daily cases are recorded globally in the last one week. In India, Kerala and Mizoram are witnessing an increase in positivity and are States of concern. We have eight States that have more than 50,000 active cases,’’ Mr. Agarwal said.Responding to a question on India having passed the peak of the third COVID wave, Mr. Agarwal said that that while India is seeing a decline in cases, “We don’t want to use words like wave and peak. There are still some areas where cases are increasing. COVID management strategies still need to be implemented because, overall, we are still seeing a high number of cases.’’
The Ministry added that 16 States/Union Territories have achieved 100% first dose vaccination coverage, while 6 States/Union Territories have registered 100% second dose coverage.