COVID-19 is spreading in India again. In the last 24 hours, the country has reported over 5k new cases of the infection, taking the active cases tally to 35,199. According to the latest report by the Union Health Ministry of India, the country registered 5,880 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths. While the national capital and Himachal Pradesh reported 4 COVID deaths each; Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan reported one death each; and Kerala reconciled two of them.
As the fears of a new wave of coronavirus rise high in the country, experts have warned against the variant which is wreaking havoc nationwide. Apart from the massive surge in daily COVID cases, experts have pointed out that they are also noticing new symptoms of coronavirus emerging, which were not seen during the earlier waves in the country. What are these new symptoms, and who are at risk? Let's find out everything.
Experts Warn of Signs 'Not Seen' In Earlier Waves
That one variant which is driving the current coronavirus wave in India is the highly contagious XBB.1.16 strain of Omicron. Also known by the name Arcturus, this variant is capable of infecting fully vaccinated individuals and also those who have recovered from the infection. Some of the top symptoms linked with the XBB.1.16 variant include high fever, cold and cough. However, there are a few more (new) symptoms that experts have noticed in patients catching this variant of the virus. As per the experts, these new symptoms were not seen during the earlier waves. And what is more concerning is the fact that it is once again attacking children.
What are the latest symptoms of COVID? Apart from the common symptoms of coronavirus infection like fever, cough, runny nose, diarrhoea, and headache, some kids have also reported signs like itchy conjunctivitis and sticky eyes, a symptom that was not seen in earlier waves.
Taking to Twitter, Vipin M. Vashishtha, Pediatrician, Member-WHO-VSN said, "For the last 2 days, have started getting pediatric Covid cases once again after a gap of 6 mo! An infantile phenotype seems emerging treated infants w/ high fever, cold & cough, & non-purulent, itchy conjunctivitis w/ sticky eyes, not seen in earlier waves."
XBB.1.16 #ArcturusFor the last 2 days, have started getting pediatric Covid cases once again after a gap of 6 mo! An infantile phenotype seems emerging treated infants w/ high fever, cold & cough, & non-purulent, itchy conjunctivitis w/ sticky eyes, not seen in earlier waves pic.twitter.com/UTVgrCCLWU Vipin M. Vashishtha (@vipintukur) April 6, 2023
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Earlier, Vipin M. Vashishtha had warned about the contagious nature of the XBB.1.16 variant, saying that it has a 140% growth advantage over XBB.1.5, making it more aggressive.
What is WHO saying? The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also stated that the new variant XBB.1.16 is not dangerous and lethal in nature, however, certain mutations in its spike protein can make it a virus strain that can cause severe infections in the future. "One of the things we are very concerned about is the potential for the virus to change to become not only more transmissible but more severe," WHO official Maria Van Kerkhove said. "So we have to remain vigilant."