KARACHI: The government figures released on Friday indicated how fast the Omicron variant is spreading in the city as its infection growth rate grew from 50 per cent to 81pc within a week, prompting experts to warn that ‘coming days might be tough’.

The daily tally of coronavirus cases in Karachi is now reaching 600.

According to official data shared on Friday, 30 more cases of Omicron variant were detected when 37 samples were analysed for genome sequencing from Jan 3 to Jan 5, raising the total number of the variant cases so far detected to 307.

The data also showed that 591 new cases of coronavirus were detected in Karachi while 165 in rest of the province when a total of 12,961 samples were tested over the last 24 hours (Thursday).

Admission of patients to hospitals also increasing

Officials had shared on Jan 3 that nearly 50pc samples (175) out of a total of 351 were found to have the Omicron variant.

Dangerous situation ahead

“There is a serious threat that the situation might get dangerous in coming days as hospitals in the city have started admitting serious Covid-19 patients to their intensive care units, though in a limited number,” said Dr Saeed Khan, a professor of molecular pathology heading the Sindh Public Health Lab at the Dow University of Health Sciences.

He added that the peak Covid-19 period might arrive sooner than expected.

Sharing his observations, Prof Khan said a significant number of patients were also affected from the Delta variant and that women seemed to be suffering from Covid-19 than men and that might be due to the fact that they were not vaccinated.

“Also, what might be holding back both men and women from getting inoculated is the misconception that the vaccine/s might cause infertility. It sounds surprising but people still ask whether these vaccines are safe.”

Suggesting how to tackle the challenge, Prof Khan said: “We must seize the opportunity available to us right now. The government should utilize all means, help remove misconceptions surrounding the Covid-19 vaccines and reduce the gap in vaccination. Second, we need to adopt the idea of smart working, which means making workplaces less crowded and managing work virtually, as much as possible.”

Asked about patient admission, Dr Abdul Wahid Rajput of Sindh Infectious Diseases Hospital and Research Centre, said it had increased over the past 10 days.

“There were less than 20 patients 10 days back and now there are 30; 10 in the ICU and 20 in the high dependency unit. Similar situation prevails at other public sector hospitals,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2022

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