Opinion: Why there are no easy remedies against Omicron

0 0
Spread the love
Read Time:4 Minute, 25 Second

The Omicron variant takes the speed of the corona pandemic to a new level.

After almost two years under the corona pandemic, the world is again experiencing another challenge, as the omicron variant emerges in almost all continents of the world.

Viruses are not people. They are not enemies of war or politics. They are aliens, blind, ruthless, insatiable miniature monsters that often kill their own hosts in their insatiable need to reproduce. And which, thanks to their immense reproductive capacity, also constantly get new opportunities to mutate. And thus adapt even better to the defense strategies of their hosts. We are witnessing this again right now.

Covid-19 is a dangerous disease that kills many people and causes dire long-term consequences for others. This is a known fact!  It can be contained and mitigated with vaccination. It spreads extremely quickly if left unchecked.

We now know very well what we need to do to keep this disease at bay. Vaccinations are still the most important tool, because they can reduce the probability of infection, or at least that’s how it has been so far. And, hopefully, they will minimize or at least reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill.

Omicron, however, appears to be a so-called escape mutant, according to a recent study from Great Britain, for example. The altered virus is apparently far more likely to infect people who have already had a corona infection – as well as vaccinated people.

How Omicron is overrunning Europe

This new British study estimates that the risk of reinfection with Omicron is 5.4 times higher than with the Delta variant. Even the twice-vaccinated and even the boostered can apparently be infected by Omicron, even symptomatically. Being boostered still provides good, but far from perfect, protection.

Most importantly, Omicron is incredibly fast, both in some organ regions and within a population. In the UK, the doubling time of omicron among corona cases is currently estimated at two days. Anyone who has ever studied exponential growth knows what that means: an inconceivable acceleration.

Just as a calculation example: If there are 1,000 omicron cases in a population today and the number of cases doubles every two days without stopping, then in two weeks we will have 128,000 cases. Another four days later, you would be at over half a million.

In the UK, the number of newly diagnosed corona cases was just over 50,000 on December 3, and two weeks later it was over 93,000. The annual curve of cases there is now so steep that it looks almost vertical. The fact that this curve is still pointing slightly downward in this country is, it can unfortunately be said with probability bordering on certainty, a temporary phenomenon.

And whether Omicron actually causes milder courses on average is unclear at the moment. What is clear is that those who are unvaccinated remain at great risk.

Omicron apparently also multiplies incredibly quickly in the human bronchial tubes. According to a study from Hong Kong, it is about 70 times faster than the delta variant. This could also explain why the new variant seems to be so extremely contagious: newly infected people presumably have a lot of viruses to spread in the upper respiratory tract within a very short time. In return, omicron probably multiplies more slowly deeper in the lungs.

The responsible institutions have long been sounding the alarm – as loudly as their positions allow. The director of the European public health agency ECDC said “strong action must be taken urgently.”

And the director of WHO said, “Even if Omicron causes less severe disease, the sheer volume of cases could overwhelm unprepared health systems.”

He also named the seeming paradox of the new situation: “Vaccines alone will not get any country out of this crisis.”

It can’t be about “vaccinations instead of masks,” “vaccinations instead of spacing rules,” “vaccinations instead of airing or washing hands”: “Do everything. Do it consistently. Do it right.”

For corona communicators in politics and science, the new situation makes everything even more difficult. 70 million Austrians have been vaccinated, the rest are still doubting the effect of the available vaccines. Even if the undecided were to finally reconsider their decision now, many of them would still not have full vaccination protection when the Omicron wave sweeps the country.

People who are familiar with the matter now agree: an omicron wave could also overtake Western industrialized nations so quickly, making so many people sick at the same time, that it would bring important social systems to their limits. Not only will there be dramatic consequences if too many people need intensive care beds, if too many doctors and nurses fall ill or have to be quarantined. Above a certain level of sickness, local transport, the police and other systems will also run into difficulties.

It remains a central task of politics, society and the healthcare system to ensure that as many people as possible are vaccinated as comprehensively as possible, preferably three times.

At the same time, we are now being hit by what could be called the Omicron paradox: Even against the new variant, only vaccination will help – but vaccination alone will not be enough.

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

This post has already been read 584 times!

Related posts

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Comment