Health Ministry not underestimating Omicron wave – Dr. Anthony

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There are now more than 11,000 active cases across the country after hundreds of people are being infected with the novel coronavirus daily.

Added to that, there have been at least 20 deaths reported over the past four days.

Even so, however, Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony does not believe that the local health authorities have underestimated the severity of the new Omicron variant.

“When you say maybe we have underestimated Omicron… if you look at the cases we have had so far, we were preparing because we know of the contagiousness,” Dr. Anthony assured Guyanese on Monday during his daily COVID-19 update.

It is important to note that at mid-month (January 17, 2022) there have been twice the amount of people infected than the previous maximum total.

That is, as of January 17, a total of 12, 522 people have been infected with COVID-19. Comparatively, a total of 6,279 people were infected during September 2021; this was the highest number of infections before now.

The number of new cases can be seen in the graph below:

The Health Minister acknowledged this surge in cases and even said that the local health authorities expect that many more people will become infected soon.

Unlike what had been seen when the Delta variant was the dominant coronavirus strain in Guyana last year, Dr. Anthony explained that the Omicron variant was not resulting in a surge in hospitalisations too.

Based on calculations done by the Ministry of Health, only about 1.1 per cent of the COVID- positive individuals are currently hospitalised. And less than one per cent (some 0.13 per cent) of the individuals infected are receiving critical care in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

But even as Dr. Anthony pointed this out, there have been an increasing number of deaths recorded over the past few days. In fact, 21 deaths have been reported since January 12.

The Health Minister, however, downplayed these reports stating instead that these deaths have been recorded many days after they were actually recorded.

“… on the day when we report, it looks like if there is a lot of deaths, so if you don’t read carefully, it would look alike a lot of death happening within that 24-hour period,” he said.

He also pointed out that many of the people who died had comorbidities (other underlying diseases) and were unvaccinated.

And so, he encouraged more people to get vaccinated to protect themselves from experiencing the more life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19.

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