Stopping Covid Starts With Us All

Omicron is less severe, not all need hospitalisation
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ICMR has issued an advisory on purposive testing strategy for Covid-19, emphasising on the need for a change in the mindset of people. It opines that there is no need for everyone to get tested unless they are identified as being at high risk.

ICMR has issued an advisory on purposive testing strategy for Covid-19, emphasising on the need for a change in the mindset of people. It opines that there is no need for everyone to get tested unless they are identified as being at high risk. This is certainly a major shift from what people have been seeing ever since the pandemic entered India. Earlier, it was testing and testing. Even then the accurate figures were not available. The number of cases was multiplied by 30 to get the near real figure of actual cases. Now, the data can be calculated if picked up cases are multiplied by 60, feel the experts at ICMR.

The new advisory says asymptomatic individuals in community settings, patients who stand discharged as per home isolation guidelines, also patients discharged from a Covid-19 facility and individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel need not be tested. Only those with cough, fever, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, breathlessness and other respiratory symptoms) individuals should be tested is an interesting finding by the scientific body.

Epidemiologists said that even in the initial stages, ICMR had advised that only symptomatic cases should be tested but governments went on testing a large number of people. Now, they say it is time the focus is changed since Omicron is a much milder variety. So far 85 per cent of the people were infected with Covid-19 and it is unstoppable as the spread of infection rate is very high. But then the consequence of this is just that of a cold and it is not frightening anymore. The curve of the spread of virus has come down even in the case of those with comorbidities. Hence, there is no point in lockdown and make people sit at home because the question is how long we do that.

But then is the situation so simple? Then why are hospitals, medical experts and government boasting so much about the booster shot after completion of 39 weeks? Well, the epidemiologists say that it is wrong to say that it is a booster shot. It is only a precautionary dose. Secondly, it could be useful more in the cases of those who do not have natural immunity. For example, they say those who got Influenza or measles get life-long immunity. Since 85% of people are already infected with Covid virus, natural immunity is there. Precautionary dose is just an option. Some countries have gone in for fourth precautionary dose, which apparently means that the earlier ones did not work.

This raises certain other questions. Is there a commercial angle to the noise that is being made over the precautionary dose? Well maybe? This issue certainly needs more debate and discussion. But the bottom line of the new guidelines issued by ICMR is that the spread is unstoppable but the variant is mild in nature and hence there is no need for panic. Covid-appropriate behaviour is the best protection against getting infected.

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