By March, Covid Will Become Endemic
THE WEEK|January 23, 2022
Interview DR D. NAGESHWAR REDDY, Chairman, Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad
Rahul Devulapalli

Since the onset of the pandemic, reputed gastroenterologist and chairman of Hyderabad-based Asian Institute of Gastroenterology (AIG) Dr D. Nageshwar Reddy and the team have been at the forefront of trying to achieve breakthroughs in the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of Covid-19. In an exclusive interview, he talks about the third wave, the Omicron variant and his latest study. Excerpts:

Q/ At what stage of the pandemic are we in?

A/ We have finished two waves and we are into the third wave. There are five aspects to a wave—the number of cases, the number of hospitalisations, the number of patients requiring ICU care, the number of patients requiring oxygen support, and, finally, the number of deaths.

If we talk in terms of deaths and hospitalisations, we can still say that we have not progressed to that stage [where it can be called a wave]. But for epidemiological reasons, and government statistics, we can call it the third wave.

Q/ How do you distinguish between Omicron and Delta variants?

A/ Delta was less infectious. Omicron is three times more infectious, but the intensity of the disease is much less and the number of hospitalisations and ICU deaths are very low. The transmissibility is three times more, but the risk of an infection, especially affecting the lower lungs, is ten times lower.

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