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What Is Likely To Happen With The New Rise In Covid Cases

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

After two years of grappling with Covid and its resultant crises (health and economy), 2022 has been a year without significant fatalities. People had returned to their pre-Covid lifestyles and breathed a sigh of relief. 

However, the world has been alarmed by the news of a prospective new wave of Covid. Covid cases are rising in China. A new sub-variant of Omicron is the reason behind the new cases. 

What is Omicron BF.7? And what does this sub-variant mean for India? Let’s find out. 

Rising Covid cases in China have brought the international scanner on the new sub-lineage of Omicron, BF.7. The number of Covid cases in the US, South Korea and Brazil has also increased, as per reports. In most likelihood, it has appeared in many European countries as well. 

A handful of cases have been found in India as well.

The Union Health Ministry has reassured the nation that there has not been an overall increase in caseload and the situation is being monitored. All states have been requested to continue genome sequencing to track the progress of this new sub-variant and understand it better. 

What we know for certain is that Omicron BF.7 is much more transmissible than its precursors. It has an R-value of 10-18.6, meaning one infected person can spread it to between ten to eighteen people. 

But is it more dangerous than the other variants? Most likely, it isn’t. However, as is the nature of all viruses, Covid variants are mutating and this is why Omicron BF.7 may be able to dodge immunity formed by vaccination or by prior exposure and become more transmissible. 

What can India expect? 

It is too early to say what dimensions this new situation will take. The vaccination response in India has been a rousing success and most of the population has been vaccinated. 

In this context, doctors are recommending the booster dose to people. We also have a new intranasal vaccine now available on Co-Win App for precautionary doses.

According to many reports, only about 4% of the population chose to get the booster shot. Now would be a good time to get the booster jab. It will shore up immunity to ready us for a possible new outbreak. 

The good news is some experts are stating that the infections may not be anywhere close to as severe as those caused by the Delta variant. There will likely not be a drop in oxygen saturation level or breathing issues. But given the number of deaths reported in China, we must be careful and exercise all precautions. 

But the volume of cases, owing to how contagious the variant is, is a little worrying. 

Possible symptoms of Covid infection caused by BF.7 are-

  • This variant affects the upper respiratory system, so you may expect fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, headache, weakness etc. 
  • Stomach flu-like symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and indigestion.
  • Some people may experience very mild to no symptoms at all.
  • Severe illness can be possible in high-risk populations. 
  • Probable long-Covid symptoms – hair fall, digestive issues, dizziness, weakness, brain fog etc. 

BF.7, being a sublineage of Omicron, will likely present Omicron-like symptoms. As we have seen in previous waves- this variant can cause a full spectrum of diseases ranging from asymptomatic to severe illness. 

What is to be done now? 

Let’s not panic but follow Covid appropriate behaviour sincerely. Here are some tips-

  • Wear masks and follow respiratory etiquette
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Do not plan to travel unless essential.
  • Using hand sanitiser and maintaining good hand hygiene.
  • Getting the precautionary dose 
  • Check the travel guidelines before travelling to any place (guidelines vary from state to state and country to country).
  • People with pre-existing medical conditions, pregnant women and newborn children to be more careful.
  • Do not ignore any Covid-like symptoms, consult a doctor and get tested. 

In a Nutshell

Covid was never gone. Like influenza, it may always stay with us. But through immunisation (by both infection and vaccination) and the passage of time, the population becomes better equipped to deal with a virus. However, that does not mean we can reject caution. As and when the government suggests, we should follow Covid mandates so that we can quickly return to our normal lives. 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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