New Omicron Sub-Variant More Infectious: Covid Task Force Chief

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The strains of Omicron circulating in Delhi is more infectious than the base strain that surfaced in January this year and along with it, the effectiveness of the vaccines currently available has dropped 20 to 30 per cent, Dr NK Arora, who is Chairman of the Centre’s Covid Task Force, told NDTV today. Delhi currently is seeing a spike in Covid, where the positivity rate is hovering around 18 per cent.

“18 per cent positivity rate looks frightening but the parameters to look at currently are the hospital admission rates and associated mortality — not only for Delhi but the country,”Mr Arora told NDTV in an exclusive interview.

“This is largely the case worldwide also with the emergence of Omicron… Omicron has not been so virulent and in India, we know the hospitalisation rate is very low. The positivity rate keeps on varying due to the number of tests,” he said.

Citing an example, he said mostly if one person in a family tests positive and others have the same symptoms, no further tests are done.

The current strains doing the rounds in Delhi – like the sub-lineages of Omicron B5 and B2 are 20 to 30 per cent more infectious than the base Omicron variant, he said.

Asked if the disease has become endemic to India and this situation will continue for the next five years, Dr Arora said over the last six months, there has been no sub-lineage that’s particularly virulent.

“If this is the situation for the next two or three months, then as a public health person I’ll be more comfortable and I can kind of say let’s open up to normalcy,” he said.

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