Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Monday compared the Omicron coronavirus variant to viral fever, ANI reported. Addressing reporters, Adityanath urged people to take precautions but not to panic.

“People are concerned about a third wave of coronavirus due to the Omicron variant,” Adityanath said. “While it is true that Omicron infections can spread rapidly, it is also true that the Omicron variant is much weaker than the second wave...It is just a common viral fever.”

The chief minister claimed that the coronavirus has been weakened, as the recovery time of patients infected by the Omicron variant was less compared to those affected during the second wave of Covid-19.

What do scientists say?

While studies have concluded that the Omicron strain was less likely to cause severe disease than the Delta variant, scientists have also stressed that the new variant could spread faster due to a higher number of mutations and its ability to evade the immune response offered by vaccines.

Least of all, no scientific research has found that the Omicron infection was comparable to viral fever.

Two weeks ago, Azra Ghani, co-author of a study carried out by the Imperial College in London categorically said: “Even if individual cases are mild, Omicron still poses a serious risk to hospitals because cases are exploding so quickly. We are not at a place to treat this as a cold.”

Scientists involved in the studies conducted in countries like South Africa, the United States and United Kingdom have also cautioned that the impact of the Omicron variant could be different in various nations, depending on factors such as co-morbidity among patients, vaccine coverage and the number of people who have had prior infections.

On Saturday, even the central government advised states and Union Territories to set up makeshift hospitals to deal with a possible surge in coronavirus cases. Several states have already imposed fresh curbs amid a sharp rise in daily infection count in India.

On Tuesday, India logged 37,379 new cases in the last 24 hours, a 334.5% rise compared to the 8,603 infections recorded a month ago on December 4. On Tuesday, cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus increased to 1,892 from Monday’s count of 1,700. Omicron was first reported in the country on December 2 and has now spread to 23 states and Union Territories.