The past two weeks have sent the entire world into a state of panic– all thanks to the new Omicron variant of SARS CoV-2! From travel bans to strict quarantine measures at each international airport in the country, India appears ready to tackle this new mutation. But, what is more worrying is India’s R-value for SARS CoV-2 is already around the dangerous 1 mark.
When the R-value is below 1, it indicates that the active cases in the country are on a downward path and decreasing. As per reports from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, which has been closely watching India’s R-value for SARS CoV-2 since March 2020, India’s R-value on December 2, 2021, is around 0.95 and has been so since mid-October. It is also important to note that some states like Telangana, Odisha, J&K and Himachal Pradesh have their R-values well above 1.
While the Omicron variant of the virus has been touted to be more contagious than the Delta variant, the research on its capability of causing severe diseases is still on. With over 20 cases identified in the country and an already rising R-value, should we be worried and brace ourselves for an impending 3rd wave? With a complacency that has set in, all states unlocking and allowing routine activities and the winter setting in, the number of factors that can push us towards a possible 3rd wave are high. With these subtle yet glaringly evident signs of a rising number of infections, it is a wait-and-watch game with how Omicron plays in this conducive situation. India can only hope to vaccinate as many of its citizens as possible in the next few months to reduce the transmission of the virus.
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