Omicron’s explosive growth is a warning sign: The Atlantic
Every person with Omicron infects 3–3.5 others, which is comparable to how quickly the coronavirus spread when it first went global in early 2020, according to The Atlantic.
The Atlantic published an article on Omicron and why this "mild" strain is still a cause for serious concern, stressing that this "variant is spreading fast."
"A tiny percent of a huge number is still a big number"
The article went on to argue that a largely "mild but uncontrollable Omicron wave" could lead to widespread pain, hospitalization, and death.
The early trends out of South Africa, the UK, and Denmark suggest that "a large Omicron wave is very possible, though not guaranteed," the article added.
A newly discovered #covidvariant in #SouthAfrica has been given the Greek letter #Omicron by #WHO. Given its peculiar number of mutations and a profile that differs from other variations of concern, health professionals are profoundly concerned about the new variant. pic.twitter.com/oeSQSaxtWI— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) November 27, 2021
The Atlantic highlighted that the absolute numbers of Omicron cases detected so far are so small, yet the variant is steadily increasing in the three countries and therefore expected to surge everywhere else.
"Scientists are now working furiously to understand Omicron’s effect on vaccinated people. Even if most breakthrough cases continue to be mild in the vaccinated, a small uptick in how many are not mild can still impact hospitalizations by the 'tiny percent of a huge number' rule," it added.
Jesse Bloom, an evolutionary virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said protection against infection after two doses is not looking very good.
The article said we were no longer in the same position as we were in early 2020 because "we now have the tools to control Omicron," adding that Vaccines will almost certainly continue to protect against severe infections, and a third shot will almost certainly increase that protection.
"We better understand the virus’s airborne transmission and how to stop it with masks and ventilation. We have antivirals on the horizon. We have rapid tests, though they should be easier to get. We know social distancing has curbed the virus before. Omicron is spreading fast, but we know how to slow it down," the article concluded.