‘More infectious but not as deadly’ – Dr Bux offers prevention tips against Omicron


Guyanese are waking up daily to worrying increases in COVID-19 positive cases with the Omicron variant suspected to be responsible but Director for National Emergency Medical Services at the Georgetown Public Hospital, Dr. Zulfikar Bux has offered a few tips Guyanese can use to prevent infection.

But once infected, Dr. Bux has also offered advice for keeping the viral load down and preventing severe symptoms.

On Wednesday during a press conference hosted by President Irfaan Ali at State House, Dr. Bux described the variant as more infectious but said it was certainly not as deadly as the Delta variant.

“We have seen a 40 per cent decrease in hospitalisation risk although the virus [Omicron] is two to three times more infectious than Delta,” Dr. Bux said.

He acknowledged that the remainder of January will be challenging for health officials but assured there was also no need to panic.

“We have two years behind managing and exposure to the virus,” he added.

In the first instance, Dr. Bux encouraged vaccination and the uptake of booster shots, saying “those boosted have a high chance of not having symptoms and if they do, it will be mild.

He said persons who are exposed to the more transmissible Omicron variant get infected in the upper respiratory tract and a sure way to decrease the viral load is to wear a mask.

“Once we wear our mask, we reduce the high risk of the virus getting into our airways and also reduce getting severe symptoms.”

Conventional and new methods of boosting the general immune system were also among the advice offered.

“Vitamin C, D and Zinc help to keep the respiratory system and immune system strong.

“Eat foods high in those vitamins or take supplements,” he added.

He said this is particularly important for people rushing to be vaccinated now, explaining that the effects of vaccines will be realised two weeks after it is taken.

In addition to these precautions and remedies for staying safe at home, the Medical Director of the GPHC, Dr. Fawcettt Jeffery has assured that the hospital, and by extension the Ocean View facility, are ready to respond to cases should there be an increase in hospitalisation.

It has become increasingly clear in recent days that infection with Omicron causes less severe symptoms compared to infections with other variants. This is responsible for low hospitalisation numbers.

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