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Updated on: Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 10:31 PM IST

Omicron variant: Reported numbers are 'nowhere close to truth', says top medical expert Dr Jaiprakash Muliyil

Mumbai: Medics wearing PPE suit take care of patients at the Jumbo Covid Care Centre in Vashi, Navi Mumbai, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022.  | (PTI Photo/Kunal Patil)

Mumbai: Medics wearing PPE suit take care of patients at the Jumbo Covid Care Centre in Vashi, Navi Mumbai, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. | (PTI Photo/Kunal Patil)

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Dr. Jaiprakash Muliyil, epidemiologist and chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the National Institute of Epidemiology at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR-NIE), on Tuesday said the reported infection numbers are "nowhere close to the truth" as actual numbers could be up to 90 times more for the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Speaking to NDTV, Muliyil said "not a frightening disease anymore" as the new Omicron strain is milder and is leading to much less hospitalisation. ''We are dealing with quite a different virus. It's much milder than Delta, as you all know, not only that, it is practically unstoppable,'' he said.

He further said that a majority of us will not even know that we have been infected. "Probably more than 80% will not even know when we have it," he said.

Meanwhile, according to data released on Tuesday morning, India recorded 1,68,063 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total tally to 8,21,446. Although the fresh infections were 6.4 per cent less than Monday when the country logged 1,79,723, the weekly positivity rate has climbed to 8.85 per cent and the daily positivity rate has declined to 10.64 per cent. On the other hand, 4,461 Omicron cases were recorded from 28 states.

Health experts noted that going by the trend, the majority of the positive cases are likely to be Omicron but confirmation is pending.

"Currently we can sequence only a small fraction of daily cases, so the question is what percentage of those viruses that are sequenced turn out to be Omicron. That's how we know that we are in an Omicron wave, since most of the sequences have turned out to be those of Omicron," Gautam I. Menon, Professor at Departments of Physics and Biology, Ashoka University, told news agency IANS.

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Published on: Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 10:31 PM IST
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