It was on a call with the India Medical Association that I got to know that I was infected with Omicron, the latest Coronavirus variant that has taken the world by storm.
I was confused, primarily because it felt like a normal day to me. I was under home isolation but had no symptoms that would point to being infected with a new variant.
I travelled from Dubai to Delhi on December 2. At that time, there were no mandatory RT-PCR tests being conducted on arrival. People were being checked randomly at the airport. I wasn’t, and hence I headed straight home. But while prepping for another flight a few days later, I got myself tested. Even though I was fully vaccinated (with Covaxin) at the time, my RT-PCR turned out to be positive. This was on December 6.
After a dozen calls from various government agencies, including the Delhi health department and local dispensaries, I was asked to isolate myself at home since I had no symptoms.
The only reason I got myself tested at the time was because I thought it was a mandatory travel rule. However, I got to know later that just showing my vaccine certificate would have worked. I had a slight fever on the day I got myself tested, but that lasted for only half an hour. I checked my temperature a little while later and it was normal. The only discomfort I experienced was sweating, which I later read is a symptom of Omicron.
Guards were placed outside my house while I was isolated. In those 4-5 days, I hardly experienced any other symptom of the variant and my days went about fine. My samples had been sent for genome sequencing at a Delhi laboratory. And on the fifth day of my isolation, I got a call from the IMA saying that I was infected with the Omicron variant. The first person in Delhi, in fact.
In all the panic that followed, I was shifted to the LNJP Hospital on December 12. The doctors took an RT-PCR test again on the 13th, and I turned out to be negative. The variant had vanished from my system in the same way it appeared- dubiously. However, the medical team thought that it was wise for me to be kept in the hospital for a few more days.
At the time, the special Covid ward at LNJP had about 45-50 patients, but roughly 38-39 of them were asymptomatic. The ward had only two other Omicron patients, but we were all fine. About 5-6 patients had mild symptoms, but I did not see anyone who was seriously sick. At the time, I had no idea why I was being kept in the hospital. It was a stressful situation. But looking back at it, I understand that the medical authorities had to do it because of a lack of information about the variant itself.
After isolating in the hospital for a few more days, I requested the doctors to let me go since I had tested negative. I was discharged on December 16. While I had completely recovered, without any discomfort in my body whatsoever, I was still made to isolate myself at home. After another negative RT-PCR test, I was finally allowed to step out of my house on December 25.
It has been over ten days since I got rid of the virus. It feels as normal as it did before being infected by it. There are no signs of fatigue, headaches, or post-Covid symptoms. This is unlike the time I got infected with Covid in November 2020. At the time, I had all symptoms related to the virus- loss of smell, loss of taste etc. But this time, it went by like a breeze. Staying in the hospital got tough for me, but the virus itself was mild.