The omicron variant is spreading pretty fast, which may be a sign of why the variant is so alarming for the rest of the world.
Per CNN, experts around the world have expressed concern about how quickly the omicron variant has been spreading worldwide.
- “It is spreading faster than the Delta variant in South Africa where Delta circulation was low, but also appears to spread more quickly than the Delta variant in other countries where the incidence of Delta is high, such as in the United Kingdom,” the World Health Organization said in a technical briefing.
- “Given the current available data, it is likely that Omicron will outpace the Delta variant where community transmission occurs,” WHO added.
A virus that spreads faster means more people will be infected, which means there will be more deaths and hospitalizations for unvaccinated and anyone who suffers from a breakthrough case, according to CNN.
- “Even if it causes only mild disease — and that’s far from certain — that could still mean many people end up in the hospital and dying,” according to CNN.
So far, signs point to the omicron variant creating less severe symptoms in infected patients. The first major study on the variant found that omicron appears to cause less severe COVID-19 symptoms than earlier variants of the virus, even though it may be more resistant to a two-dose vaccine, according to The Washington Post.
However, there’s another argument among experts that a fast-moving virus like the omicron variant might signal the future of the pandemic, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
- “The theory is that, if a less virulent strain becomes dominant, more people will become infected but fewer will be critically sick,” per The Sydney Morning Herald. “The virus, while still a problem, also becomes part of the solution; every person who recovers from a mild case is left with greater immunity against future infections than any of the current vaccines provide.”