New Delhi, October 19: Upcoming festival season is a critical period for a surge in Covid-19 cases, as the disease hasn't gone yet, said Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman and MD of Medanta Hospital stated on Wednesday.
"Covid hasn't gone and whenever the surge comes, we have to become more careful," said Dr Trehan.
"We obviously fear that this Covid has not gone and our behaviour pattern should not be today like it's gone. We can't be careless now. These viruses will go through many mutations. Historically, every time the virus goes through a mutation, it will get a little weaker as we have seen with Omicron also," he said.
Dr Trehan further said that it is not known what would be the exact sequence and how dangerous the virus would be this time.
"New variants will be even more effective and will spread faster. Now we really don't know yet, what would be the exact sequence, how many days people will remain sick, and whether the lungs will be affected or not. The Omicron was a much milder form, people got sick and got over it. So the world actually has taken some kind of attitude also," he said.
On Tuesday, a high-level meeting of Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya was held with the senior health officials regarding the emergence of Omicron's new sub-variants and concluded with the decision to continue masks and Covid-appropriate behaviour across the country.
The state has reported new Covid cases including the XBB, a new sub-variant of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has been detected in parts of India, including Kerala.
XBB, a recombinant lineage between two Omicron sublineages BJ.1 and BA.2.75, is a fast-spreading variant, which was seen to have caused a spike across Singapore recently.
According to statistics the new Covid cases are expected to increase in the state in the October 10-16 period this week by 17.7 per cent as compared to the period between October 3-9. This rise is noticed in Thane, Raigad and Mumbai says the official release from the health department.
Some experts from the health department predicted a rise in the coming winter season, especially in a festive environment. In Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), BA.2.75 decreased to 76 per cent from 95 per cent.
From BA.2 and BA.5, a series of sublineages kept appearing. Each of these had additional mutations which were concentrated on the RBD or receptor binding domain of the spike protein of the virus. This is the part that the virus uses to attach to the human cell.
"With convergent evolution involving about 5 frequently found mutations, the virus is now able to escape the immune response to the earlier versions, either from natural infection or through vaccination. This is why they are called immune evasive variants. BA.5.1.7 and BF.7 are names given to downstream descendants of BA.5," Dr Rajeev further explained.
"What we must realise is that the pandemic is not over, and there will be periodic regional surges that especially coincide with festivals and group gatherings. Wearing masks Indoors and preferring outdoor to indoor gatherings are safe options. The vulnerable individuals will need to be especially protected," he said.
-PTC News with ANI inputs