Omicron subvariants in Mexico, 5 times more contagious, but less serious: expert

Omicron subvariants in Mexico, 5 times more contagious, but less serious: expert

Laura Poy and Carolina Gomez

Newspaper La Jornada
Sunday, July 17, 2022, p. 6

The new omicron subvariants that predominate in Mexico (B.A4 and B.A5) are up to five times more likely to infect than their predecessors, although they are not being as aggressive as in other waves, because there is not yet such a significant impact on mortalitysaid Michelle Herrera, a specialist in preventive medicine and epidemiology at the Institute of Security and Social Services for State Workers (Issste).

In an interview, he indicated that our country remains in a phase of rising infections. Until now, the fifth wave is the second with the most cases, although it can equal or exceed the fourth.

He indicated that although there is no exact date to determine the end of the pandemic, we observed in the last two waves that a seasonal pattern of two periods a year seemed to settle, that is, there would be two annual waves, but we must continue studying.

The specialist highlighted that, unlike other variants, we are detecting that the onset of discomfort is more abrupt. We see fever, more dry cough, headache and sore throat, which can become very intense.

He explained that, unlike other variants, loss of smell and taste is not so common, since upper respiratory symptoms and general malaise predominate.

The recommendation to the population, he said, is to isolate themselves because the new subvariants are more contagious, they should drink plenty of fluids and monitor oxygen saturation. He indicated that If we observe that the patient saturates less than 90, we must go to the hospital and consider risk factors such as chronic-degenerative diseases, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cancer and autoimmune diseases, among others..

Herrera recalled that, to date, the severity of the cases is less and vaccination or having been infected also generates an impact. But he warned that this does not guarantee immunity, because we have detected that these subvariants seem to circumvent the protection provided by having been through the disease, and even vaccines, which were not designed to prevent contracting the virus, but against serious illness and death.

The epidemiologist called on the population to maintain prevention and self-care measures, despite being immunized, in particular maintaining the use of face masks and constant hand washing, as well as the ventilation of closed spaces. And if you have any symptoms, isolate yourself.

He recalled that although Mexico is facing a significant rise in infections (34,567 new cases were reported this Friday alone), this has not translated into greater hospitalization, it is not proportional. It is much lower, in relation to infections.

The impact of this fifth wave, he explained, is no longer in the demand for hospital services, but in the first level of care, the clinics, because symptoms are milder and no longer require specialty medical interventions. Patients are cared for by family doctors, who usually prescribe medications to control symptoms, because there is no direct treatment against covid-19.

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