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The Omicron variant of the Coronavirus is going to wreak havoc in the world. With its 30 mutations that evade vaccine produced antibodies and requirement of advanced genome sequencing to detect it, the Omicron variant has been classified as a “variant of concern” by the WHO or the World Health Organization.
Indeed, it would only be a matter of time before this variant becomes endemic worldwide mainly due to the resumption of international air travel, though the knee jerk reaction might stem the spread of the disease, albeit temporarily.
Already global markets have been spooked by the possibility of further disruptions in nations globally jeopardizing the nascent economic recovery. It sure looks like there would be more lockdowns and the sort of restrictions that have bedeviled the world over the last couple of years.
To use a metaphor, the Omicron variant spreading across the globe is like the rupturing of a just healing wound, that makes the pain doubly worse and dash the hopes of recovery. We simply cannot afford to have a fresh outbreak of the variant causing havoc worldwide.
Moreover, this variant can also render the existing vaccines useless and reduce the potency of treatments, though as such Covid has no set treatment protocol per se. In other words, if this variant results in hospitalizations and the ICU admissions, there is little that we can do except for hoping for the best.
What is particularly concerning is that this variant can spark the Third Wave outbreak that can put entire nations, especially in the poorer Third World at risk of catastrophe. Indeed, one shudders to think what would happen in such a scenario in countries such as India, where the brutal Second Wave collapsed the healthcare system.
Though Vaccine inequity is the main reason why Africa has become the hub of this variant, since hoarding of vaccines by the West has deprived the former with the required number of jabs, this also underscores our vulnerability to repeated strains and mutations that are simply a Never Ending Nightmare.
It is for these reasons that we must not abandon wearing masks, taking jabs, and maintaining Covid appropriate behavior such as social distancing and hygiene and other such precautions. Our governments too must ramp up surveillance and physical and medical infrastructure needed to prepare for the anticipated Third Wave.
Last, while there is no need to panic, as of yet, we must remember that forewarned is forearmed and hence, be on guard and step up vigilance. While the evolving situation is like a recurring nightmare, there is precious little we can do to prevent or stop an outbreak, though there is much that we can do to contain the spread and limit the damage.
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