Against Omicron: vaccine and mask
The new variant of coronavirus will force to reinforce vaccination programs, social distancing, hygiene and the use of a mask to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Although many details about the new omicron variant of Covid-19 are still unknown, the country must be cautious about the massive activities. The population does not neglect using a mask, which has protection greater than 53% against contagions.
The recommendation is from the specialist in neurosurgery and student of the behavior of the Covid-19 virus, Dr. José Joaquín Puello, who said something important is that apparently, vaccines are effective against the variant, hence the importance of reinforcing the strategy of convincing the population that remains to be vaccinated to do so.
The new omicron variant, detected for the first time in South Africa, keeps the different countries of the world on alert, including the Dominican Republic. Their health authorities have reported that they maintain strict surveillance of their behavior and compliance with preventive measures.
Dr. Puello recalled that there are still only preliminary data on the effect of the new variant in humans. What is a little more worrying is that several countries in Europe have already detected cases.
“We must still take this with a grain of salt until the information advances, but what there is no doubt about is that restrictive measures have an effect on contagion,” said the specialist, referring to a recent study that indicates that the use of the mask protects in 53% of the contagion.
Puello said that the mask continues to be the most significant protection in contagion and that the prevention measures adopted by the country must be maintained.
At this time, he pointed out, greater adherence to protection should be adopted, especially during the upcoming Christmas holidays, and be cautious in the massive events that take place, reinforcing preventive measures, and continue to convince people to get vaccinated.
He understands that people should wear their masks on air travel and that health personnel in hospitals use double masks for greater protection.
In this regard, the Ministry of Public Health (MSP) reported that there have been no confirmed cases of the new omicron variant of Covid-19 from South Africa in the country, but that strict epidemiological surveillance is maintained.
The National Director of Epidemiology, Dr. Ronald Skewes, assured that the Dr. Defillo National Laboratory is prepared and streamlining the processes to detect this new mutation of the coronavirus quickly.
“The National Laboratory is speeding up the process, since the equipment is being calibrated and the personnel trained, it is a matter of time before a complete sequencing is carried out and it is determined on this new variant, which is not yet circulating in the country, but they are taking the appropriate surveillance measures,” said Skewes.
He said that unvaccinated people are the most vulnerable to this new strain of the disease and called on the population to continue with their vaccination schedule and complete the doses since it is the safest measure to prevent the virus.
He indicated that the Ministry of Health remains attentive to any situation with this variant to report any incident.
The omicron variant of Covid-19 was identified for the first time on November 24, 2021, in South Africa and was declared worrisome by the World Health Organization (WHO) two days later.
The agency recommends that countries intensify surveillance and sequencing activities to understand the SARS-CoV-2 variants in circulation better and submit the complete genome sequences and related metadata to a publicly available database, such as the GISAID. In addition to notifying the WHO cases or clusters of cases of infection by the variants of concern, through the mechanism of the International Health Regulations.
It calls on populations to apply proven public health and social measures, such as wearing a well-fitting mask.