Third Wave of Corona In India: While scientists across the world are still waiting for more information on omicron—the new variant of coronavirus that was first detected in South Africa,  a health expert has warned that India should be prepared to fight a possible ‘third wave’, which may be caused by the emerging strain keeping in mind its high transmissibility. So far, India has reported 5 cases of Omicron. While the first two cases were detected in Karnataka. The third, fourth, and fifth cases were reported from Gujarat’s Jamnagar and Maharashtra’s Dombivli and Delhi respectively. Earlier in the day,  the national capital reported first case of Omicron after a man from Tanzania tested positive for the new variant.Also Read - Delhi on Alert After First Confirmed Case of Omicron, Tanzania-Returnee Tests Positive; India's Tally Rises to 5

“First omicron case detected in Delhi. The patient admitted to LNJP Hospital had returned from Tanzania. Till now, 17 people who tested positive for Covid have been admitted to the hospital”, said Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain. Yesterday, the Narendra Modi-led Centre wrote to five states – Odisha, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram– and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and expressed concern over a rapid increase in daily Covid cases and mortality rate and also underlined the danger posed by the Omicron variant.

Why India Should Prepare For the Third Wave? 

Speaking to news agency ANI, Executive Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bibinagar, Dr Vikas Bhatia, said, “Even at this point of time when more than 30 countries have reported one or more cases, we are still waiting for some more information. So, in this phase, we should be preparing ourselves that a third wave may come but at the same time, it may be good news in case we find that this particular virus Omicron is not very fatal. So far no death has been reported from any part of the world. It might be a mild disease. It is possibly being observed in some countries such as South Africa that the gap between the infection and the manifestation of the disease is a little longer. And when it is longer than the Delta virus, it is likely to be transmitting and infecting more and more people. Now in case, the transmission rate is high, but its killing power is low, then it can transmit and generate immunity among the people,” he added.

Dr Bhatia said that if oxygen levels decline due to the Omicron variant, then that would be a concern but he believes that due to the ongoing nationwide vaccination programme, it should not be a problem. “Decline in the oxygen levels and the case fatality rates, they are our main concern. If those concern us more, we should not be bothering too much about the transmission of the disease. Because the vaccination programme is also going on,” he said.

‘Hybrid Immunity’ a ‘Protection’ Against Omicron

The doctor said hybrid immunity in India is very high which has “better protection” against Omicron.

“When we talk about hybrid in relation to the COVID it means we are talking about the immunity which has been acquired through the infection and immunity which has been acquired through the vaccination. When these two work together we call it a hybrid.”

Dr Bhatia explained further, “When these two work together we call it a hybrid. So, hybrid immunity is there because a large number of people have already been exposed to COVID. So, they have because of the disease which occurred to them, or which manifested or for some reason they were admitted or which we saw the results as a seroprevalence was positive who got this infection. They may have immunity against the COVID plus the vaccination which has also been going on since January. So, together it becomes hybrid immunity.”

(With ANI Inputs)