Omicron variant

NICD research suggests BA.2 is nothing to worry about – Photo: Adobe Stock

The mild variant? WHO official encouraged by new Omicron data…

‘Most cases of Omicron COVID are mild’, one senior WHO source said on Wednesday – but make no mistake, this variant still packs a punch.

Omicron variant

NICD research suggests BA.2 is nothing to worry about – Photo: Adobe Stock

The preliminary findings reached on the Omicron variant have, so far, given us all some ‘room for optimism’. Several leading scientists have already moved to quell fears about the new strain of COVID-19 – and even representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO) are buoyed by these early findings.

Omicron latest: ‘Most cases detected are mild’ – WHO

In the cases of Omicron infections studied so far, an overwhelming majority of cases have been ‘mild’. That was the message shared by one WHO official on Wednesday, who also stated that vaccines would neutralise the mutation.

Positive signs for new variant – but still too early to tell…

The SA Medical Association, several British scientists, and health officials in Israel have all gone on record to report that mild infections are prevalent in Omicron-positive cases. The first few indicators we have are reassuring, but it’s still too early to tell just how dangerous B.1.1.529 really is.

Panic spread around the world last week, after South Africa’s Health Department sounded the alarm about the new variant. Cases have soared within our borders, and with a majority of the population still not fully vaccinated (64%), this latest strain could end up putting significant pressure on hospitals once more.

Omicron likely to be more transmissible, meaning cases WILL increase rapidly

Even though a large number of Omicron cases are mild, it also would appear the disease spreads easier. Its increased transmissibility is already being felt in Mzansi, and despite the alleged mildness, this new variant is likely to be the key driver between a rise in hospitalisations and deaths, as is always the case when infections skyrocket.

CSIR researcher Ridhwaan Suliman, meanwhile, expects to see a ‘large increase’ in new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, following a lag over the weekend. Over 4 000 new cases were recorded yesterday, when just last week, daily positive tests were only in the low hundreds. SA’s test positivity rate is also above 10% now.

  • If Omicron truly is the ‘mild variant’, South Africa will be one of the first countries to find out…