The country is witnessing an exponential growth in Covid-19 cases, driven by the Omicron variant. The Union health ministry on Wednesday acknowledged that this was an early indication of a surge in cases across the country.
There has been a 6.3-time growth in cases in eight days, health officials said, while case positivity has increased sharply from 0.79% on December 29 to 5.03% on Wednesday. Active cases have gone up to 2.14 lakh on Wednesday, with 58,097 new cases.
India has detected 2,135 Omicron cases with 1,305 active cases till Wednesday morning. The first death of a patient infected with Omicron in the country was reported from Rajasthan.
VK Paul, member, health, Niti Aayog, and head of the Covid Task Force said the country is facing an exponential rise in cases, largely driven by Omicron.
The acceleration in cases is steeper than ever, but hospitalisation rates are relatively lower, Paul said. However, they are closely watching the data. Average hospitalisation in the country during the second wave was 20%.
Different parts of the country will see a surge in different stages, he said. If cases rise then the risk for the elderly and those with co-morbidities will also increase, adding pressure on hospital beds, he warned. He urged people not to be complacent. “Don’t take it for granted. The health system can get overwhelmed,” Paul said.
There was a high spread of infection in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kerala, Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, with the six states accounting for around 70% of the active cases. There are 156 districts with weekly case positivity rate above 2.5%.
The Omicron variant has now spread to 139 countries, with 4.7 lakh cases and 108 confirmed deaths reported. The number of hospitalisations of Omicron-infected cases has been lower as compared to the Detla variant across the globe. But it is not possible to extrapolate this data to the Indian population, Paul said.