COVID-19: Sub variant of Omicron likely behind surge in cases, say Experts

‘Majority of people unaware even when they are infected, strain behaving mildly’

Srinagar, Jul 20: Health experts believe that the current spike in Covid cases in the Union Territory of J&K is likely caused by the Omicron sub-lineages, mainly BA.2, BA.2.38, BA.4 and BA.5.

Experts told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that these new sub variants are indicating higher transmissibility and dominating currently in most of the places but most cases are of mild infection that includes cold, cough, fever and body ache.

Dr Muhammad Salim Khan, Head of Department Community Medicine at GMC Srinagar said that the number of Covid cases are seemingly on rise over the last few weeks, but the symptoms are mild and self-limiting lasting for a few days only.

“The majority of affected persons don’t know if they had COVID as they never tested for it,” he said. “Despite being positive, they kept on doing their routine activities and the virus kept on spreading.”

He said that there’s no severity of currently circulating strain as it mainly affects the upper respiratory tract and as such the hospital admissions are minimal with those having comorbidities and involvement of lungs. Which rarely occurs with the circulating strains of Omicron variant.

Meanwhile, another doctor from GMC Srinagar told KNO that the positivity rate in J&K is increasing with each passing day and it is likely that sub lineages of Omicron are behind it, however, it can be fully confirmed in genome sequencing labs.

He said that it is usually mild form presenting with fever, body aches, sore throat and cough and it resolves in a few days.

“The variant doesn’t seem to be aggressive as the hospital admissions haven’t increased as of now, however, people must not be complacent and must use masks at least in outdoors,” he said—(KNO)