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Given the increase in cases of Covid-19, specialists in infectology shared a real perspective of the rebound in infection in Mexico. Patricia Ramírez, a pediatric infectologist and researcher at the National Institute of Pediatrics, said that from the outset it is convenient to know which viruses predominate in this winter season: the rhinovirus, which is present from September to June, the influenza, which is promoted by cold climates, and now the coronavirus which he assures, “is here to stay”.

From March 11, 2020, the Covid-19 was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic; In Mexico, the first case was registered on February 27, 2020, since then the data to date reveals 4 million 434,758 accumulated cases and 301,789 deaths. For the last 24 hours, Mexico had a new maximum record for daily infections with 49,343 cases and 320 deaths, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Health, which shows that we continue to have significant problems.

Where are we in the pandemic?

Dr. Ramírez explains that this virus continues to cause deaths, although in a lower percentage, but it continues to present an increase in cases, as confirmed by the Undersecretary for Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell, who assured this Tuesday that infections now they are 10 times greater than the hospitalizations and deaths that have been registered in Mexico. for what is this?

Also a member of the Mexican Association of Pediatric Infectology explains that today the 21K or B1.1.529 variant dominates, better known as Omicron, which consists of four structural proteins, and of which S has been studied above all, which is the spike or spike, but it also has proteins M, N and E. It also has 16 non-structural proteins, which also help viral replication and evasion of the immune system. As if that were not enough, it has 6 other accessory proteins that also help the virus to activate, replicate and overcome the immune system.

Until January 17, according to the GISAID system that monitors variables worldwide, over 40 mutations have been observed for Omicron, which makes the virus replicate more and be more infectious. Today the Omicron variant It predominates in many parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, and Mexico among them.

“In short, we are facing a variant with a greater number of mutations that evade the immune system, less aggressive, but more transmissible, especially between the third and sixth day after the onset of symptoms.”

How can we identify if the strain is Ómicron?

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that there is still no certain evidence that symptoms by Omicron are different from other variants. However, various studies around the world are finding small differences in symptoms presented in patients with the new variant, for example, it is more infectious in the upper nasal airways, has less disease in the lower airways (lung) and has a higher risk of reinfection , even in patients who already had the infection or a complete vaccination schedule.

A study published by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that most common symptom of people infected with Omicron variant is the dry cough, which affects up to 89% of people; Others are fatigue (65%), nasal congestion (59%), fever (38%), nausea Y threw up (22%), in addition to headaches, body aches, and sore throats, all of which presented mildly and lasted from two to five days. These are some differences to the inconvenience caused by the original virus.

Patricia Ramírez, Jorge Eduardo Macías and Gerardo López participated in the panel of specialists on the Omicron variant of Covid-19. Photo EE: Special / Capture video.

What can we do in this scenario?

Dr. Jorge Eduardo Macías, a specialist in clinical immunology and pediatric allergy, identifies some general prevention and care measures that we must not forget for this season of complications.

Vaccines: this is the primary prevention that will reduce the severity and mortality associated with this new virus. Although it does not prevent infection, what it does is that our body previously knows a part of the virus so that it can respond much more quickly and adequately when it occurs. He said that for now the brand of the vaccine does not matter, since all have shown high safety and efficacy, the important thing is that the more population is vaccinated, the less serious disease we will have and less mortality.

Face mask: It must continue to be used, because we can be asymptomatic and infect people who are not vaccinated or who have some risk factor that leads to developing a serious illness. The best mouth cover is the one that lets you breathe, that does not have an escape valve, that covers the nose and mouth, that has an adequate closure on the sides, the metal band on the nose helps a lot, in this sense the KN95 have shown effectiveness for the general population. The correct thing to do if we must eat some food is to remove it completely, fold it in half and then put it back.

healthy distance: It is 1.8 meters, so if someone sneezes, it is the distance at which the particles begin to decrease and fall to the ground. Therefore, crowded places that do not allow healthy distance must be avoided. Also if there is a sneeze, the mask will not be enough, that’s why we use the crook of the elbow to cover ourselves.

Handwashing: Although this has been known since very young, as a base it is before each meal, after going to the bathroom, before preparing food, now it is added after having contact with multiple surfaces that were exposed to more people. The wash is with an adequate circulatory movement to generate foam, between the fingers, above and below, knuckles, thumbs, the center of the palm and nails; with the paper with which we dry ourselves is the same with which we will close the tap.

isolation and testing: Given the suspicion of some contagion due to having had contact with a positive patient, voluntary isolation or quarantine is the first part, here what we are looking for is to see if symptoms develop and if the disease occurs or not, thus avoiding more infections. In the event of taking a test and coming out positive, it is important to notify the people with whom you had contact. Testing is also very important before a trip or an unavoidable meeting.

Surveillance: Once we have the symptoms, surveillance is very important, for this there is a decalogue published by the CDC, among the points are: isolation at home, monitoring symptoms (oxygenation and temperature), rest and hydration, an emergency system phone, use a tissue to sneeze, wash your hands as often as possible, isolate yourself from people you normally live with, avoid contact with people who have active infection, avoid sharing items and constantly disinfect.

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