Will the Omicron variant cause a new Covid-19 crisis in Malaysia?

For the third day, new daily Covid-19 cases have passed the 5,000 cases mark.

On 27th January, it was 5,439 new cases, 28th January 5,522 new cases and yesterday 5,739 new cases.

I asked a doctor friend whether the Omicron variant would cause a new Covid-19 crisis in Malaysia and what he thought of the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia. I am sharing his response, as it deserves consideration by all Malaysians:

“Looks like cases are going up for last one week. It was bouncing at 3-4K for a few days and is now at 5K since 27th Jan 2022.

“Hospital beds show a slight increase but there is no significant increase in ICU bed occupancy.

“The pattern correspond to what we expect to see when Covid Omicron is the main infective agent.

“It is a Covid infection but milder, spread faster and more. Ro is estimated to be 8-9 (as infectious as measles), but not so deadly. If the original Covid has a fatality rate of 1.5% at the moment, Omicron fatality maybe less than 1% (maybe nearer about 0.5% estimated).

“Omicron first hit the world in South Africa on the 9th Nov 2021. All our experience seem to come from there. The South African doctors gave the world almost weekly reports to warn us. So we do know much from the South African experience.

“The Omicron variant has almost 30 mutations in that part of the virus that sticks to our breathing tubes mainly in the throat and seldom in the lungs.

“This is one of the difference from the Delta variant, which sticks to the breathing tube lining of the throat and the lungs. This means that while Delta can cause severe lung infections and pneumonia and death, Omicron seldom does that. It cause a mild flu (running nose, cough, sneezing, maybe sore throat). Most often so mild as to be asymptomatic.

“Within a month, the Indians and British have discovered a mild variation from the original Omicron lineage, called Omicron BA2. Basically, the same Omicron but a bit more infectious and milder.

“We also know that in South Africa, where the population is only about 33% vaccinated, it took about two weeks for the Omicron infection to peak. In India, where the population is about 60% vaccinated (there are some doubts to this ), it also took about 3-4 weeks to peak.

“That seem also to be true in UK and USA. In UK Boris Johnson was forced not to lockdown, took a gamble and just open up with minimal restrictions. After three weeks, the case numbers seem to be coming down, hospitals are not overwhelmed and deaths did not increase. In the USA, more states are just relaxing everything. Vaccine mandates are being challenged in court, and cases are also going down.

“These examples are chosen to show that cases going down is not because of vaccination. It is more because Omicron being widespread and mainly asymptomatic, will confer community immunity.

“Basically, if we do not disturb Omicron, it will run itself out. That is the way to live with the virus. Just open up, let the virus rip through the community, and it will burn itself out. Vaccines have the potential of harm and death, and worse, of creating more mutations and variants.

“That is what we should propose that Malaysia should also do. Not more vaccinations, but less restrictions and more freedom. Let the virus rip. And we will get out. The only downside is an increase in absenteeism because of mild flu (a small price to pay for better livelihood )

“MOH must keep genome testing to make sure that we are all Omicron which has taken over from Delta.”

Food for thought by the Minister of Health and the Health Director-General!

(Media Statement (2) by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 30th January 2022)

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