Omicron – good news and bad news and why we need to continue being careful

New SARS-C0V-2 strain, Omicron, seems to continue spreading in African and other countries, with almost 80% of the viral data accounted for by it, as in GISAID database this morning (6th December):

The cases in South Africa keep going up, driven by Omicron spread. Even in the UK where it is still a small %, the numbers of cases associated with Omicron are growing fast.

Quite a lot of news has been made of the data suggesting Omicron severity is lower than other existing strains, including the still-dominating Delta one:

This seems good news, but two warnings are needed at this stage. Firstly, we still do not know what impact it will have in countries like the UK, with a very different population structure than South Africa.

Secondly,

which means that even if the Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) is low – as Dr Fauci seems to imply – the number of people hospitalised and dead might still be very large if Omicron is found to spread fast and to overcome the vaccine and prior-infection immunities.

This is not to try to scare people off; it is simply to warn (again) that the pandemic is not over, we are all in it together, and so we need to continue caring for each other – by balancing the health protection with social and economic care.

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