There’s something about the omicron variant that you should be aware of, and frankly, this might not come as a shock to many of you.
Let’s rewind to late last month, but when word of the new COVID-19 variant omicron first emerged, there is no question that it sent the world into a panic. President Joe Biden? Oh, don’t mind him. He was just vacationing at a billionaire’s house in Nantucket. However, by the day after Thanksgiving, there was a growing sense of fear over this unknown new strain of COVID-19, sending the Dow to a 900-point selloff.
It only took one more week for the whole country to be swept up into a panic, leading state governors to encourage masking yet again, and even top immunologist Anthony Fauci would go as far as saying that those with booster shots should wear a mask in public. President Biden was even ordering travel lockdowns.
However, the early data seems to demonstrate that the Omicron variant is not as bad as the original COVID-19, nor is it even as bad as the variant Delta.
“Researchers at a major hospital complex in Pretoria reported that their patients with the coronavirus are much less sick than those they have treated before, and that other hospitals are seeing the same trends,” The New York Times reported. “In fact, they said, most of their infected patients were admitted for other reasons and have no Covid symptoms.”
The Times is now reporting that these scientists are “cautioning against placing too much stock in either the potential good news of less severity” but they did cite a report that offered an optimistic outlook.
“A report from doctors at the Steve Biko Academic and Tshwane District Hospital Complex in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital, offers the strongest support yet for a more hopeful take on Omicron, though its author, Dr. Fareed Abdullah, gave reasons to be wary of drawing conclusions,” the Times reported.
More from the outlet:
Dr. Abdullah, director of the Office of H.I.V./Aids and Tuberculosis Research at the South African Medical Research Council, looked at the 42 patients with coronavirus who were in the hospital last Thursday, and found that 29 of them, 70 percent, were breathing ordinary air. Of the 13 using supplemental oxygen, four had it for reasons unrelated to Covid.
Only one of the 42 was in intensive care, in line with figures released last week by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, showing that only 106 patients were in intensive care over the prior two weeks, despite the surge in infections.
After the variant emerged, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that Omicron poses a global risk that is “very high” and they even felt that it could bypass those who have been vaccinated. They thought the strain was a “highly divergent variant with a high number of mutations… some of which are concerning and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility.”
“The overall global risk related to this new variant….is assessed as being very high,” WHO said, and they also added that Omicron “has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, a few of which are even concerning because of their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic.”
A doctor in South Africa has a different view, however, saying that he feels that the symptoms of the Omicron variant “appear to be mild and can be treated at home.”
“Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of South African Medical Association, told Reuters that on 18 November she noticed seven patients at her clinic who had symptoms different from the dominant Delta variant, albeit ‘very mild.’”
“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” Coetzee said in an interview with The Telegraph.