The new omicron Covid-19 variant is good news. Probably.
Pushed by media panic, some governments are cracking down, again, as the omicron strain spreads. But while omicron seems to be very contagious, it also appears to be significantly less dangerous than either the original recipe coronavirus or the delta variant.
How much of this change is due to increased population resistance from vaccines and prior infections, and how much is due to differences between viral strains, is still being studied, but there are reasons to believe omicron is intrinsically less likely to cause serious illness or death. This is not, of course, to say that omicron is harmless, only that it is, on average, less harmful.
Of course, all the usual caveats about early days and early data apply to our understanding of the variant. Back in March 2020, I laid out some reasons we could not count on a milder COVID-19 variant to bail us out of the pandemic, and for nearly two (very long) years this counsel held true.
But now the right mutation may have happened at the right moment. Still, it is reasonable for scientists, doctors, and officials to want better data before making optimistic pronouncements. (Read more from “Why the Omicron Variant Is Good News” HERE)
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