Senator and presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — After the declaration of an epidemiology expert that there is already a local transmission of the Omicron variant, PROMDI presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao is urging the public to remain calm but cautious amid the steep rise in cases believed driven by both the Delta and the new virus first found in Africa.
On the advise from health experts, Pacquiao expressed agreement to the opinion of Dr. Rontgene Solante, who, as a member of the government’s vaccine expert panel, saying that “in consideration of the current situation with an enormous number of people being tested positive in just a short duration of time there is indeed already community transmission of Omicron.”
To most people, Omicron manifests in their upper respiratory tract system.
Although Solante, chief of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine unit of the San Lazaro Hospital and is a member of the Department of Science and Technology’s vaccine expert panel, has yet to give an official statement affirming this based on proper analysis and data.
For its part, the Department of Health also has yet to formally announce the community transmission of the latest Covid-19 strain.
But based on the World Health Organization’s guidelines, the nature of infections must first meet three criteria before community transmission can be declared: (1) There should be a large number of cases not linkable to transmission chains, (2) an observed increase in cases detected through laboratory surveillance, and (3) multiple unrelated clusters in several areas of the country.
As it is, Pacquiao went ahead with his appeal to both the citizenry and government officials to be mindful of the impact of the Health crisis on the whole country even as he cited that experts have described Omicron variant as three to five times more transmissible than the deadly Delta variant of SARS-Cov-2.
Solante also explained that if the ability of Delta to transmit a single interaction is based on current data, it indicates that it can infect five to eight times faster as compared to the earlier variant’s of Covid-19.
“Now the experts’ opinion here is that because of these heavy mutations, the Omicron variant can be three to five times as highly transmissible as that of Delta,” Solante pointed out.
In reaction, Pacquiao stressed what the physician’s belief meant to the Filipino people and that is “you have to multiply five times three or five times five and this is the number of possible contacts who could be infected in a single interaction, especially in an enclosed space.”
“Maaaring ito ang dahilan kung bakit napakabilis ng pag dami ng mga bago at aktibong kaso sa mga komunidad. Nakakakita na rin tayo ng marami pang kaso sa mga healthcare facility sa kasalukuyan Kaya masasabi nating mula one third hanggang sa kalahati ng ating healthcare manpower ay positibo sa Covid-19,” the People’s Champ concluded.
In a study by experts in Africa where Omicron was first detected showed that the virus appears more benign compared to Delta.
Patients inflicted by Omicron thereat only take 4.3 days confinement while those infected with Delta require at least 8.4 days hospitalization.