Dr. Anthony Fauci said it is too soon to say if this Omicron variant will spell an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Omicron Variant
Dr. Fauci, the top medical expert of Covid-19, was asked during the online World Economic Forum whether Omicron will be the year of pandemic, even though it is still circulating but does not cause severe damage in the society.
Omicron is the most transmissible variant and has high mutation potential. However, it also appears to cause fewer hospitalizations and fatalities compared to previous variants of the COVID, which has made many questions if the pandemic is finally close to an end.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new variant already accounts for over 94 percent of infections in the U.S., which shows how rapidly spread variant and displaced the previously dominant delta variant.
Furthermore, Fauci release a statement comes a week after Europe’s top medical product regulation agency said that the COVID-19 Omicron variant may be pushing the pandemic into becoming endemic.
Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccine strategy for the European Medicines Agency (EMA), told reporters that the natural immunity conferred by the highly infectious omicron strain may be fast-tracking the progress towards endemicity.
Too Early to Call Omicron as Endemic
Epidemiologists would declare a disease as endemic if “the levels are steady and predictable, compared to the boom and bust waves so far in the pandemic,” according to the BBC News,
Moreover, Fauci was speaking alongside a panel of public health experts who agreed that Omicron will likely become the dominant strain of Covid-19 globally in 2022. However, they were split whether it would bring to the final end of the strain.
Annelies Wilder-Smith, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said that it was too early to call Omicron endemic. There is a high probability that there might be a new variant coming.
Richard Hatchett, chief executive officer of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations, was more optimistic, however, as for Hatchett, the Omicron will sweep the world. It may hopefully sweep out other variants, but adding that the virus will likely reach a point of equilibrium, where it becomes an annual epidemic, much like the seasonal flu.
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