The view that the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus is harmless and that there is no cause for concern is not only wrong, but will cost us dearly if we give in to this interpretation.
However, this is the view of many people today. Many have begun to believe and compare the omicron to the cold and flu that many of us experience during the cold winter months. So there is also this widespread feeling that just like one recovers from a common cold after a week or two, the recovery is the same from the Omicron.
The Omicron may be considered less deadly or mild, but this new Covid-19 strain is spreading like wildfire in countries around the world. The fact is that we are dealing with an extremely infectious and transmissible strain that has the ability to spread many times faster than its predecessors.
Although studies show that the Omicron is mild, we must not forget that it is considered the most infectious of the coronavirus variants that has been worrying the world since December 2019.
The infectiousness and transmissibility of the disease are evident here in the country as well. As of February 11, there are 2,278 active cases of Covid-19 in Bhutan, compared to only 173 active cases in the country just one month earlier on January 11.
A count conducted by the Reuters news agency found that it took more than a month for the number of COVID cases to increase from 300 million to 400 million, compared to five months when the number of cases increased from 200 million to 300 million. The United States (US) leads the world in the most cases reported daily.
In the U.S., the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus has continued to spread throughout the country, reaching vulnerable populations who have been trying to protect themselves from the virus. This means that the Omicron variant has spread to average people, who have then passed it on to vulnerable people.
So we are also at a similar risk. We are already seeing that the Omicron variant is spreading from average people to vulnerable people. On February 4, the Ministry of Health announced that a total of 269 children and 60 elderly people were infected with Covid-19 in this fourth lockdown. However, the number of children being detected Covid-19 positive has increased to 389 as of February 10.
Of concern to us is that the Omicron can be deadly, especially to a large percentage of our vulnerable people, including children under 11 who are not vaccinated, the elderly, and people with underlying illnesses and medical problems. Given the increased risk we face today, everyone must do what they can to avoid infection and transmission. Now is the time to step up and strengthen our efforts and vigilance again.