While one was still struggling to make sense of the new Omicron variant that has dulled hopes for a pandemic-free 2022, a ‘Delmicron’ surge is being blamed for the explosion of cases in United States and Europe. Not too difficult to decipher, Delmicron is a combination of the Delta and Omicron variants and has the ability to transmit even faster.
According to Dr Shashank Joshi, member of Maharashtra’s task force on Covid-19, “Delmicron, the twin spikes of Delta and Omicron, in Europe and US has led to a mini tsunami of cases.”
He went on to say that it is to be observed how Omicron would react in India, where the Delta strain is widely exposed. Joshi highlighted Delta derivatives, which are descendants of the delta, are now the most common form in India and also emphasised that in other regions of the globe, Omicron is fast replacing deltas.
So, how different is Delmicron from Omicron?
Omicron is a highly mutated B.1.1.529 form of SARS-CoV-2, which was first discovered in South Africa. This variant spread faster and is currently showing milder symptoms than Delta. The mortality rate is even lower than the Delta variant, while Delmicron is the result of combining Delta and Omicron which is basically the twin spike of the variants.
What about vaccines?
The World Health Organization chief warned Wednesday that the rush in wealthy countries to roll out additional Covid vaccine doses was deepening the inequity in access to jabs that is prolonging the pandemic. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted that the priority must remain to get vaccines to vulnerable people everywhere rather than giving additional doses to the already vaccinated.
His comments came as the Omicron variant’s lightning dash around the globe since it was first detected in South Africa last month dampened hopes the worst of the pandemic was over. The new variant is spreading at unprecedented speed and has already been detected in 106 countries, the WHO said.
Early data indicates that it could be better at dodging some vaccine protections, spurring the rush to provide boosters.
Where does India stand?
India has recorded 236 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus across 16 states and UTs so far out of which 104 people have recovered or migrated, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. Maharashtra has recorded the maximum 65 cases of the Omicron variant, followed by Delhi at 64, Telangana 24, Karnataka 19, Rajasthan 21 and Kerala 15. The ministry data u also showed that India recorded 7,495 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of cases to 3,47,65,976, while the active cases increased to 78,291. The death toll has climbed to 4,78,759 with 434 fresh fatalities, the data stated.
The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been recorded below 15,000 for the last 56 days now. The active cases comprise 0.23 per cent of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate has further improved to 98.40 per cent, the highest since March 2020, the ministry said.
An increase of 101 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23.