Health

Unvaccinated at 100% risk: expert

Crowd at the Sarojini Nagar market even after the shops are opening according to the Odd - Even numbers in New Delhi on December 25, 2021.

Crowd at the Sarojini Nagar market even after the shops are opening according to the Odd - Even numbers in New Delhi on December 25, 2021.

India will see a surge in Omicron-driven COVID-19 cases and a high positivity rate, but the infection will hopefully be mild in most people as is being seen in South Africa, says Dr. Angelique Coetzee, who first identified the variant.

In a phone interview, the chairperson of the South African Medical Association also said existing vaccines would definitely control the contagion but those unvaccinated are at 100% “risk”.

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“Existing vaccines will greatly help reduce the spread of the Omicron variant,” she said.

In the case of a vaccinated person or one who has had a history of being infected by COVID-19 , it will spread to fewer people, she said, adding that unvaccinated people will potentially spread the virus 100%.

“Existing vaccines would greatly help to reduce the spreading, as we know that you would spread only about one-third if vaccinated or had previous history of being infected by Covid, while unvaccinated people will potentially spread the virus 100 per cent,” she said.

She disagreed with the opinion of some experts that Covid is heading towards an end with the advent of Omicron, which as of now is comparatively a weaker variant.

“I do not think so. I believe it will be difficult (for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to end soon). I presume it will become endemic,” she said.

“India will see a surge in Omicron-driven COVID-19 cases and simultaneously there will be a high-positivity rate. But hopefully the majority of the cases will be as mild as what we are seeing here in South Africa,” she added as India on Saturday reported 415 cases of the Omicron variant.

Discussing the character of the Omicron strain of COVID that is spreading fast across the world and has dampened year-end festivities in many parts of the country, Dr. Coetzee said it attacked “warm bodies” and was also infecting children.

Can the Omicron variant again mutate and change its character? “Yes, it might mutate in the future to be more deadly, or it might not,” she said.

The 61-year-old medical practitioner also held that human behaviour such as wearing masks as well as following safety protocols for COVID-19 will play a huge role in controlling the transmission of Omicron.


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Printable version | May 23, 2022 10:48:50 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/unvaccinated-at-100-risk-expert/article38038701.ece