Omicron: The End Game Of COVID-19?

With the arrival of the Omicron variant, the number of cases is increasing rapidly and it has surpassed the second wave. Cases in France, Argentina, Mexico, the USA and even Australia which had kept itself locked out from the rest of the world are increasing. Australia has locked itself out for the last 2 years due to COVID-19. Foreigners find it difficult to enter the country. No sooner they had tried to open up the country the number of cases went up so quickly. 

Apart from all these, the good news is that scientists are claiming that it is the endgame ofCOVID-19. Let’s analyze the latest updates regarding this finding.

Omicron variant was being assumed to be a mild variant which is less threatening compared to the Delta variant. Now, this has been proved by scientists in various countries.

The study from the University of Edinburgh to compare the Delta and Omicron variants had proved that the risk of hospitalisation due to the Omicron variant was 65% lower than that from the earlier variant. The chances of someone needing to be admitted to the hospital were reduced by 2/3rd  in the case of Omicron.

The next case study in South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) had analyzed 1,60,000 patients and found that if someone gets infected with the Omicron variant, the others have a 70% lesser chance of contracting the disease. Additionally, 80% lower chance of hospitalization, according to them.

There are some additional real-life data as well. It can be used to analyze what actually happened when the fourth wave hit South Africa. It is considered as the narrowest wave in the country as the number of cases went up and then came down gradually. It means it lasted for the least duration of time.

Currently, the cases in South Africa have started receding. The Omicron variant almost died down in the country. Also, it is interesting to note the fact that the death rate in South Africa over the course of the fourth wave was the lowest. The UK and the USA also witnessing the same thing.

Graph which shows the impact of COVID in Soth Africa during the fourth waves

Citing the study from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a government agency in the USA made a statement that the chances of death are 91% lower for Omicron infected patients. Adding to this, the study also finds out that there is a 53% lower risk of hospitalization among the patients.

But at the same time, it has to be warned that the Omicron variant is 2 or 3 times more transmissible than compared to the Delta variant. As the Omicron variant infects the cells in a patient’s throat only unlike the Delta variant, the chances of death are low. But as the variant multiplies within the throat itself, the chances of transmission is high.

The chief medical advisor of the President of the USA said that the Omicron variant is almost unstoppable. It will affect a lot of people and everyone will have to go through it. Dr Jaiprakash, chairman of the scientific advisory committee also said the same. According to him, the majority wouldn’t even know that they were infected. It will be so mild.

Ian Jones from the University of Reading and Nathan Grubaugh of Yale School of Public Health have said that they believe in the theory that Omicron has become a natural vaccine for the world.

Some scientists claim that in the future, COVID-19 will become like seasonal flu. It wouldn’t be eradicated from the world, but it will become so mild that the normal fit and healthy people wouldn’t need to worry about this. Obviously, it will have a significant impact on vulnerable people. But it will have a similar impact that the seasonal flu has had over the last 10-15 years.

According to other scientists, after March, things may go back to normal if all the governments start withdrawing the restrictions. They are expecting that there will be no more variants of Coronavirus in future. But scientists believe that by the time a variant like Omicron continues to be dominant, the other variants to pop up with the potential to be more deadly, perhaps they wouldn’t be able to compete with the current variant ever.

As a result, the Delta variant almost vanished from the countries where the Omicron wave has spread. Therefore, its being claimed that this is perhaps the endgame of COVID-19.