In a conversation with The Quint on Saturday, 4 December, Dr K Srinath Reddy, the president of the Public Health Foundation of India elaborated on the Omicron variant of coronavirus and explained the impact of vaccination on the same, among other key concerns revolving around the new variant.
"It is very likely that the vaccines that we have been using as well as the other defence measures we have been using as well as the load of previous infections which have produced a considerable amount of immunity, all of them have been creating difficulty for the virus to transmit easily," he said.
How is Omicron Different Than Delta?
When asked about how the Delta variant compare with the Omicron one, he listed a few caveats that one must note before comparing.
"We must understand that Delta entered in a relatively naive human population, therefore, it did have a much larger amount of susceptible people to infect and it did spread widely. We also, in India in particular, offered the Delta an easy chance to spread because by the time all our defences were removed, we were moving around freely, no travel restrictions, and people were gathering large crowds."Dr K Srinath Reddy, President of Public Health Foundation of India
He said that the Omicron variant is quite infectious and responsible for many reinfections.
"Given the fact that many people have already been affected, many people have been vaccinated, the speed with which this particular virus is transmitting, not just in South Africa where the vaccination rates are not very high but in Europe where the vaccination rates are indeed high, suggests that this is indeed quite infectious and is responsible for many reinfections as well," he added.
Regarding the precautions that one should take to prevent Omicron, he said that people should mask up and move in well-ventilated areas.
"Well the precautions are very same that we have been speaking about since January 2020 because we know that the vaccines that we take do not prevent infection per se, they only help to prevent severe disease and death. In order to prevent the infection, you have to wear a mask, you have to move in well-ventilated areas rather than ill-ventilated crowded indoor spaces and of course, hand hygiene helps in order to prevent infection as well. But particularly masks and ventilation are critical and if we avoid super spreader crowded events, then we can reduce the transmission risk."Dr K Srinath Reddy, President of Public Health Foundation of India
Watch the full interview with Dr Reddy here.