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No need to worry about new Covid-19 variant: DAK

Srinagar, Apr 06: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Thursday said there is no need to worry about the new Covid-19 variant.

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“There is no evidence to suggest that the new sub-variant causes more severe disease,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement issued to the news agency KINS.

Dr Hassan said the new variant is causing an uptick of cases in some parts of the country. “While cases are rising, there is no evidence of increase in hospitalization,” he said, adding there is no need to panic as long as it does not lead to severe illness.

The DAK President said case count has lost relevance; hospitalization numbers are now reliable markers when it comes to assessing the threat from pandemic.

“If we continue to highlight only the increase in cases, we run the risk of causing unnecessary public panic,” he said.

Dr Nisar said new variant XBB1.16 is a sub-lineage of omicron strain of Covid-19. “Most of us have gone through the omicron wave and our population has enough immunity against omicron and its sub-variants. With high vaccination rates and natural immunity, the possibility of a new wave in our population due to the variant is unlikely.”

He said Covid-19 has entered into the endemic stage and the rise and fall in cases is going to be a routine process.

“What we are seeing in terms of a spike in Covid cases is on expected line,” he said adding the current surge is not a wave but an endemic spike and we expect these fluctuations in future too.

General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said new variants will keep coming as frequent changes in the genomic structure are part of the natural course of the virus.

“For last one year, we have got variants which are basically sub-lineages of Omicron, so it seems virus has stabilized,” he said.

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