Shimla, January 14
Compared to the Delta-driven second wave, the number of deaths and hospitalisation recorded in the third wave so far has been significantly lower in Himachal.
Against 8,115 active cases recorded on January 13 in the third wave that hit the state around a fortnight back, 15 deaths have been recorded and 90 patients are admitted in various hospitals across the state.
However, the death and hospitalisation numbers were much higher with a similar number of active cases during the second wave. “Against 8,696 active cases on April 18 last year during the second wave, 195 deaths had been recorded, and the hospitalisation rate was consistently over 5 per cent of the active Covid cases. At the moment, the hospitalisation rate is about 1 per cent,” said National Health Mission Director, Himachal, Hemraj Bairwa. “Also, the number of deaths per day at over 8,000 active cases of Covid during the second wave had entered double digits. This time, only one death a day, that too not on a regular basis, is being reported,” he said.
Apart from fewer deaths, the rate and nature of hospitalisation is another comforting factor. “Even among the hospitalised patients at the moment, no one is on ventilator. 59 people are on oxygen and the remaining are on room air,” said the National Health Mission’s Himachal Director.
“All this indicates that the current wave is much weaker than the second wave in terms of severity. Nevertheless, people can’t lower their guard in view of these numbers for no one can tell with certainty how the virus will behave over the coming days,” said Bairwa.
The clinical evidence, too, points towards the weaker virulence of the third wave, believed to be fuelled largely by Omicron. “The Omicron-induced infection is milder compared to the disease caused by the Delta variant. In most cases, the infection is affecting only the upper respiratory tract. As the lung involvement is less this time, the drop in oxygen level is also less. And that’s the main reason for lower hospitalisation,” said Dr Malay Sarkar, a member of the State Covid Clinical Committee.
None on ventilator
Even among the hospitalised patients at the moment, no one is on ventilator. As many as 59 people are on oxygen support and the remaining are on room air. — Hemraj Bairwa, NHM’s Himachal director