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CHENNAI : Health Department Principal Secretary J Radhakrishnan, a senior Tamil Nadu government official on Sunday said that the severity of the coronavirus infection during this wave wave that has been fueled by the new variant Omicron is less as compared o the second wave that swept the country last year. 

"The death rate during the second wave of COVID-19 was 1:100 and during the third wave it was 1:1,000. That is, if there are 30,000 cases reported, we have 30 people succumbing to the virus," he said.

"The view of medical experts is that the severity of the disease is low this time... And this (death rate) is an example to that," he told reporters.

The official pointed out that the deaths registered during this third wave is one for every one thousand cases reported. 

The health official further pointed out that unvaccinated individuals and those eligible to receive the 'precautionary booster dose' are also at risk of contracting the contagion. This fact has also been bothering medical experts in the state. 

He said, "Even those who succumb to the virus, nearly 80 per cent of them comprise unvaccinated people and those who have received single dose of vaccination". 

"Unvaccinated (people) comprise 68 per cent of the deaths while those who received single dose of vaccination comprise 12 per cent. 

Today, we had a meeting of health experts and their broader view is that the risk of contracting the virus is similar to those who have not received the vaccination and those who have completed nine months after receiving the second dose and are waiting for a booster dose," he said. 

Radhakrishnan said the occupancy level of hospital beds was also low during the third wave as compared to the earlier waves and added that of the total 1.94 lakh (active) cases, 12,134 people required hospitalisation.

"One general take-away point is that we should maintain social distancing, and follow all protocols while in public... People should extend their cooperation (to government by following COVID-19 behaviour)," he said.

As Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian reiterated on Saturday, people who are eligible to receive the 'booster precautionary dose' should get vaccinated immediately, Radhakrishnan said. 

Noting that the virus was surging at the global level, he said even in India it was a similar case and one satisfying news in Tamil Nadu was that some districts like Chennai, Chengalpet, Cuddalore, and Vellore have indicated that the virus trend was declining in these districts. 

"But at the same time we should not forget that the cases are increasing in 30 districts (of the state)," he said. 

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