Srinagar: More than 100 people have died of COVID-19 in January, a month that saw the beginning of the Omicron-driven third wave and busted the myth that the variant is less lethal than the previous ones.
The deaths mark a significant increase, close to 50 percent, as compared to those in December. Going back to November, the increase is 59 percent, for October 91 percent, and for September 87 percent when compared to the deaths in January. Government data shows that 40 persons died of COVID-19 in November, 9 in October, and 13 in September.
There was an opinion among the experts that Omicron will not do much damage as compared to the lethal Delta variant of the second wave. Though the symptoms of the infection are different in Omicron, which does not cause breathing issues unlike Delta and others, it has its lethal effects as well. Also, it is more transmissible and spreads faster.
As the cases are mounting, the rate of both deaths as well as hospitalisation is expected to go up again, Dr Rouf Ahmad, the Kashmir division’s Covid 19 head, told Kashmir Reader.
“Understand how the virus is behaving. Over 100 deaths have taken place when more than 60 percent of the population is vaccinated. This does not mean vaccination is not working, but shows what the variant can do. And remember what the variant can do when it reaches its peak,” Dr Rouf said. “So, people should mask up, maintain distance, hygiene, and isolate immediately when positive.”
Dr Rouf had earlier warned that this variant can infect people up to more than five times than in the second wave. Kashmir’s peak was 3,500 cases a day in the second wave, and the highest daily cases in the third wave was close to 5,000 a few days ago.
The rate of transmissibility of the virus also shows a grim picture in January. In the month, so far, close to 70,000 cases have been recorded positive, as against just 4,204 in December, 4,504 in November, 2,686 in October, and 3,910 cases in September.
More than four lakh people have been infected, and close to 5,000 have died, since the Covid-19 pandemic surfaced in Kashmir in March 2021.