COVID-19: Is India Underplaying the Threat of a Omicron-Led Third Wave?

The growing narrative of Omicron being a mild variant of COVID is worrisome. Here’s why.

1 min read
Hindi Female

The growing narrative around Omicron, of it being a mild variant of COVID-19, is worrisome. Here’s why:

India is reckoning with one of its highest daily COVID spikes in months, with the country reporting more than 37,000 cases on 3 January – one of the highest caseload number reported since October.

But what is different about this surge is that it is outpacing all previous waves. At the start of the pandemic, in April 2020, cases only rose by 500 every day, against the daily jump in thousands we are witnessing right now. If we take just the last week, starting 27 December, cases have increased almost six-fold.

And a large factor behind this spike is the Omicron variant, whose cases have more than doubled in the past week.

While case numbers have been flying off the charts, hospitalisation numbers have largely been constant since this variant reportedly causes only mild symptoms and low hospitalisation rates.


At present, metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai have put in some lockdown measures, like a weekend curfew and a limit on restaurant occupancy. But given the explosive growth of cases in India, are we underplaying the threat of Omicron and its potential impact on our fragile healthcare system?

To discuss this, for today’s episode, we spoke to Professor Gautam Menon at Ashoka University and Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, Vice Chairman of the Research Cell at Kerala IMA.

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