A wave of relief washes among the world governments, as WHO informs that the omicron variant is not as dangerous as the delta variant. The omicron variant is less lethal even though it may be more contagious than COVID-19’s delta variant.
Almost 40 countries have confirmed Omicron’s infections in nearly 500 people, but no deaths have been reported yet.
The world has taken extremely rushed and hasty measures of restricting travels from several African nations after a new variant of the coronavirus was reported by South Africa.
There were fears and rumors going around, stating that Omicron could be the most deadly variant of COVID-19 discovered. However, the rumors were proven false in a statement released by WHO yesterday, where it was stated that the Omicron variant is not as dangerous as the delta variant. They previously said that the
Viruses have two major determinants that show how dangerous they are: Transmissibility, which shows how quickly the virus spreads, and Lethality, which shows how potent it is in harming and killing people.
While Omicron's lethality is lower, it is not entirely clear whether this variant’s transmissibility is higher or lower than the delta variant. It is not as likely to kill a person, but omicron might still be capable of spreading quicker. Researchers cannot reach that conclusion yet, since its discovery was very recent. Omicron's effects on the respiratory system are not as adverse, in comparison to the alpha or delta variants. It is simply a new mutation that is more or less similar to the previous ones with minor differences which may or may not increase the transmissibility of the virus.
South African medical association had also previously said on November 27 that the Omicron variant causes 'mild disease'.
This discovery comes as a great relief to the weary world governments and tired citizens. It appears that the main issue should still be the delta variant, instead of the Omicron, which is not as lethal. Vaccines will be more effective against omicron than against delta. Researchers already know quite a bit about the effects of the delta variant, so it will certainly be easier to deal with its effects without worrying about a possibly more dangerous variant.
World Health Organization and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced their concerns on how the countries were being too hasty with their decision of banning travels to and from Africa.
South African government officials were displeased with the way South Africa was being treated by the world for reporting a possibly deadly variant on such quick notice. They stated that South Africa was ‘being punished’, instead of being praised for its quick discovery and report of the new virus variant. They even claimed that restrictions were being placed on South Africa based on political reasons, not science-based reasons. The restrictions on South Africa have seriously hurt its recovering economy.
Stopping African people from entering was never going to solve the issue since it was suspected that the variant may have been in Europe a week before it was first reported anywhere. Halting travels on the African continent after the virus was discovered in two more continents was deemed an unfair move by many. Japan had to take back its decision of canceling all flight reservations after facing a severe backlash from the public. They still have their bans imposed on over 155 nations, though.
The new variant had been confirmed several days after the collection of Nov. 9’s specimen. The first report came on 24th November, according to WHO, who named it ‘Omicron’.
The omicron is not as lethal as the previously discovered variant, but it certainly can be potent enough to destroy the respiratory systems of unvaccinated individuals. The importance of vaccines is just as great as ever, if not more. Even a single dose of vaccine can limit what the virus can do to one’s body.