Strong measures against the omicron variant recommended
The Dominican Republic must adopt measures that prevent the community circulation of Ómicron, which varies much more contagious with Covid.
Santo Domingo, DR
The Dominican Republic must implement actions to prevent the entry or spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is more mutant than the predominant Delta, beyond prohibiting passengers’ access from five South African countries as was done.
Several countries in Europe and America have closed their borders to passengers from South Africa since last weekend, and others are restricting the movement of their inhabitants at night, while scientists and the World Health Organization evaluate the risk of spread and the impact it could have on people.
The president of the Dominican Society of Infectious Diseases, Clevy Perez, states that the Dominican authorities have to make the epidemiological surveillance more efficient with studies to determine variants, greater control at airports, in the requirement of vaccination cards and with the crowds of people, and to follow up on those entering the country.
He explained that although the studies of the new variant are still preliminary, the fact that it is more mutant increases the risk of reinfection. This is because it remains more in people’s bodies and, in turn, leads to the emergence of new variants.
“It’s preliminary data based on the mutations that have been detected in that variant, but it’s still too early to say for sure…We don’t really know how far Omicron has gone, because there are sequenced cases of samples from November 9. We are talking about that before it started to be reported, and like everything else, generally, when it is noticed or perceived, it is realized that it had already been circulating for weeks or months”, he referred to the fact that the first cases were confirmed on the 24th.
He asked for more control on the people entering the country, that they have vaccination cards, that they do not have symptoms, that they comply with a few days of isolation and the use of masks”.
“We cannot continue to be so permissive, because then we will have a bigger problem. It is the moment to prevent, to be assertive and above all to be proactive in prevention”, said the specialist when interviewed for Listín Diario.
It would replace Delta.
She explained that the delta variant, of greater facility of contagion and affections, is the one that is predominating in the Dominican Republic. Still, one of the worries is that Omicron, by its mutations, would have the advantage of becoming more infective. When a variant is more infective, that is to say; it has more capacity to be contagious than another one. It will be displacing the previous one and will become the dominant variant.
The circulation of the delta variant and others in the country have impacted the pandemic statistics, which has accumulated 4,204 deaths and 406,803 infected.
It is necessary to get vaccinated.
The first thing that the specialist in infectious diseases proposes is to extend the vaccination process in the Dominican Republic, warning that the longer a part of the population remains unimmunized, the more the appearance of new variants will be favored.
“People who have not been vaccinated yet should not waste any more time and get vaccinated, do not miss the opportunity, because regardless of the fact that new variants may appear with certain difficulties of the antibodies blocking it, but it will always be better to have a protection before being infected than not having any type of antibody or protection and immunity,” he claimed.
He said that studies and science have demonstrated the efficacy of vaccines, which are applied free of charge in the country, and still those who do not want to be inoculated and when they contract the virus face greater seriousness and even die.
“The truth is that I do not understand, it is a little difficult to understand, because they are so proven, science and studies have shown that vaccination reduces, not only the risk of contagion, because a vaccinated person can be infected, although he/she has less probabilities, but it reduces the possibility of hospitalization and death, so why do they lose the opportunity to have this protection?”.
He said that they are seeing diabetic patients, not vaccinated, who is getting very complicated.
“People who missed the opportunity at one point and that could have been the change, could have been the difference between a fatal outcome, as we have had a lot, having survived.”
Complying with restrictions
Although the authorities have established the use of masks, distancing, and vaccination cards to enter closed places, the citizens’ compliance must be monitored.
He also suggested being more intensive in the search for unvaccinated people to get vaccinated because the more people are unvaccinated, the greater the possibility that a virus lasts a long time in a host and is more mutant.
Those who have had Covid
Given the appearance of the new variant of omicron concern, the infectologist urged the population to protect themselves with the proper use of a good mask, physical distancing, and hand washing.
Those who have had covid should get vaccinated, as it has been demonstrated with other variants, that people who have had covid and get vaccinated are up to 5 times less likely to have a second episode of covid. This is because people with a compromised immune system, when infected, the virus take longer to clear, and the patient carries the virus for many weeks.