Tuesday September 27, 2022

Hospitalisation from Omicron to go up in one to two weeks, warns Dr Sultan

January 05, 2022

KARACHI: Urging people not to take the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 ‘lightly’, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on health Dr. Faisal Sultan on Tuesday said there will be some increase in hospitalization of patients in the next one to two weeks and urged people to wear masks, avoid crowds and get vaccinated at the earliest.

“It’s still a bit early to draw conclusions since it takes 1-2 weeks for hospitalizations to go up. Also, let us see how the virus behaves regarding virulence”, Dr. Faisal Sultan said when asked as to why hospitalizations were not going up in Karachi despite increase in number of Covid-19 cases due to spread of Omicron variant.

Hospitalizations remained negligible and there were hardly any patients under treatment at major public and private health facilities in Karachi despite the fact the Covid-19 positivity touched 8.91 percent in Karachi, where 339 more people were tested positive for Covid-19 with over 50 percent people infected with the Omicron variant.

Liaquat National Hospital (LNH) Tuesday said not a single patient of Covid-19 was admitted to their Covid ward on Monday, for the first time in last 20 months which shows that Omiron variant is not as much virulent as it is being perceived. Other hospitals in the city including Ziauddin Hospitals, Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), Dow University Ojha campus and other health facilities said hospitalization due to Covid-19 was still very low despite increase in Covid-19 cases and spread of Omiron variant in the city.

Infectious Diseases Hospital and Research Center at NIPA Karachi, which is the only dedicated hospital for Covid-19 patients said they too were not seeing any increase in the number of patients for quite some time and at the moment, most of their beds were vacant. “At the moment, we are receiving one or two patients with Covid-19 on daily basis but so far we have not found anybody infected with Omicron Variant of the Covid-19”, Dr. Abdul Wahid Rajput, Medical Superintendent of the Infectious Diseases Hospital, affiliated with Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) told The News.

But SAPM Dr. Faisal Sultan believes that there will definitely be an increase in hospitalizations after getting infected with Omicron variant and advised people to keep guard up against Covid-19 by wearing masks, getting vaccinated and following SOPs. “There will be some increase in hospitalization. How much, it depends on the degree of spread and infection. International evidence suggests it spreads fast; how much serious sickness it causes will be evident in a week or two (for us)”, Dr. Faisal Sultan added. “What I would say is this - we should not take it lightly”, he warned.

When asked if they were worried at low vaccination rate in major cities including Karachi and Lahore, he said: “We want it (vaccination) higher for sure. I am happy that the vaccination rates picked up with time but we still have some distance to still go. So I would not say I am worried but that we need to enhance the numbers further.”

“Masks. Masks. Masks. Avoid crowds. Vaccinate. Ventilate,” was his advice to people in Karachi when asked what people should do to prevent them from contracting the Omicron variant.