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Why the omicron variant might not signal the end of COVID-19

Omicron’s spread could make COVID-19 more endemic, unless a new variant emerges

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An illustration of the omicron variant.

Omicron’s spread could make COVID-19 more endemic, unless a new variant emerges.

Illustration by Michelle Budge, Deseret News

The omicron variant of the novel coronavirus could make COVID-19 more endemic — unless there’s a new coronavirus variant to contend with down the road.

The news: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus, told the Davos Agenda, a virtual event this week held by the World Economic Forum, that the omicron variant could infect so many people that COVID-19 will become an endemic disease, CNN reports.

  • “But that would only be the case if we don’t get another variant that eludes the immune response to the prior variant,” he said.

Flashback: Fauci said over the weekend that the omicron variant could make more people immune to COVID-19, as I reported for the Deseret News. However, it’s too early to tell if omicron will have that staying power.

  • “It is an open question as to whether or not omicron is going to be the live virus vaccination that everyone is hoping for because you have such a great deal of variability with new variants emerging,” he said.


Why it matters: Fauci’s comments show that there’s still more to figure out about the omicron variant and what it means for the future of COVID-19.

Yes, but: This doesn’t mean you should try to get the omicron variant. The coronavirus can lead to long-term health issues. And even if omicron provides mostly mild symptoms, “mild symptoms” often mean you’re as sick as you can possibly get without going to the hospital.