No room for complacency: On tackling Omicron

Omicron’s mild nature is more due to the protection offered by vaccines

The unprecedented speed at which Omicron is spreading in countries that have high levels of testing, the number of people a single infected person can spread the virus to, and a doubling time of less than three days are a loud warning that things can go out of control soon. Mild symptoms notwithstanding, its higher transmissibility can pose a severe threat to health-care settings as a high number of infections within a short time could lead to more people needing hospital care. Overwhelmed hospitals can make it harder to provide much-needed care, leading to mounting deaths. The situation can become even more challenging when health-care settings suffer from staff shortage caused by increasing infections among health-care workers — as seen in many hospitals across India. India should learn from the hard lessons of the second wave, strictly adhere to COVID-appropriate behaviour and increase vaccination coverage. Getting misled by the mild nature of the disease and throwing caution to the wind will be a dangerous gamble.

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