Medical experts warn, spike in Covid cases may turn into sixth wave

KARACHI: While most of the people infected with the new COVID-19 variant are currently experiencing a mild illness and recovering at home, there is a dire need that people start wearing face masks to prevent rapid transmission And maintain social distance in public places. The new variant warned health experts on Tuesday.

According to health department officials, Karachi is the worst-affected part of the province with 340 positive cases, raising the positivity rate to 10.69 per cent in seven days.

In the same period, 1,841 tests were conducted in Hyderabad out of which two cases came back positive.

A total of 9,892 tests were conducted in the rest of Sindh, of which 34 came back positive.

At present, a total of 1,813 patients are in home isolation while 16 have been admitted to hospitals.

Ask people to follow safety guidelines; 340 test positive in a week in Karachi

fears of a sixth wave

talking to dawnDr Saeed Khan, a professor of molecular pathology, head of the Sindh Public Health Lab at the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), said a new variant – BA.5 – is spreading rapidly to other countries in Pakistan, including Karachi. And now it was being broadcast locally.

“while other [old] The subtype of Omicron is also being reported in Karachi, it is more contagious as it is a new one and has been a cause of concern in other parts of the world,” he said, adding that unvaccinated, elderly and people with compromised immunity are particularly vulnerable. Were.

“If medical advice is not heeded and preventive measures related to COVID start being implemented seriously, the spike in cases could turn into a sixth wave of coronavirus,” he said.

According to Dr Khan, there are several reasons behind the rapid spread of the variant. “They are genetically distinct, which helps them to transmit faster. Other reasons include decreased immunity to the vaccine after six months, the general public’s reluctance to get a booster shot, and COVID-19 preventive measures in public places. includes the absence of

additional booster dose

He emphasized the need for a booster dose and an additional booster dose for those who had already received a booster shot.

“Covid-19 vaccines only help prevent serious disease, not infection, so it’s important to get a booster shot, which is safe,” he said.

Sharing the figures of Sindh Infectious Diseases Hospital, Dr Abdul Wahid Rajput said that the number of patients admitted to the hospital has increased from one to six in three days.

“People report to hospitals only when the disease becomes severe. Hence, I believe that the number of unreported cases must be much higher than the reported cases and most of the patients are staying at home with mild signs and symptoms,” he said, adding that all in the hospital The patients had co-morbidities and were stable.

Dr Yahya Tunio, deputy executive director of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, said one of the suspected COVID-19 patients died this week.

“He tested negative for Covid-19 but had clinical symptoms similar to the disease. Now, we have two patients who are being looked after in a dedicated 10-bed unit for infection,” he said.

He was of the view that since most people in the country had been vaccinated, the disease did not pose a serious threat. “It is like the seasonal flu now. But, we need to be careful because vulnerable populations are at risk.”

A spokesperson for Indus Hospital said that the facility currently had no Covid-19 patients.

When contacted, an official of the Health Department said that out of the samples tested for forms of COVID in Sindh, four were found to be BA.4 and BA.5. The variant was first detected in South Africa in January and February this year.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Medical Association has expressed concern over the rise in Covid-19 cases in the country, especially in Karachi, Islamabad and some other cities.

“This increase in Covid-19 cases is due to negligence as most of the people are no longer wearing face masks or maintaining social distancing and hand hygiene. Also, a limited number of the population has received a booster dose. The effectiveness of the vaccine is diminishing due to time lapse and the only way forward for prevention is to receive a booster dose,” said a statement from the association.

Published in Dawn, June 22, 2022