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Scientists Slow to Say Omicron Is Less Serious

MSN's Salon seem to report that most scientists are hedging their bets on this variant. Only one death reported so far.

by Tom Drake

For whatever reason, it seems very difficult to find very few members of science, including the CDC, to agree that the latest variant, while quicker to spread, is less deadly than the Delta. A recent article in Salon quoted several disease experts, and none would confirm anything.

Read this tap dance from one so-called expert about New York, where cases have increased by 80%. "It is a predictor of what the rest of the country will see soon, and the minimum — since NYC is highly vaccinated — of what other parts of the country will experience in under-vaccinated cities and states," Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told Reuters.

I am pretty sure that means that the Omicron will hit everywhere.

Here is another interesting quote about the severity of Omicron. "There are definitely signals that the severity level of omicron may be different than delta and other variants," Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center, tells Salon. As a caveat, Adalja noted that "much of this data is derived from South Africa," which has different herd immunity levels than the United States.

Ok...there has been one reported death from Omicron. An unvaccinated man was diagnosed with Covid for the second time after having remained unvaccinated after the first case. He was over 50 with underlying conditions.

One scientist does feel that Omicron is less deadly based on data from other countries.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at the University of California–San Francisco, told Salon she believes enough evidence that omicron is less severe than previous variants. Gandhi pointed to data published from the University of Hong Kong last week that stated omicron is less likely to infect lung cells than previous variants.

"In the United Kingdom, out of the first 25,000 cases of omicron, about 85 patients had been hospitalized and in Denmark, out of the first 785 cases, 1.15% have been hospitalized, both lower rates than during the delta surges," Gandhi said. "But we do not know yet if this is because of increasing cellular immunity in the population in December 2021 versus an inherent property of the strain that makes it less virulent or both."

So there is much to learn, but a recent study claims that 73% of new cases are Omicron, and if Omicron is less severe, that would be a welcome change after two years. Hopefully, science will confirm that and actually admit it.

Here is the link to the Salon article-

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