As more datâ continues to unfold on the Omicron variant, it’s becoming more and more apparent the it is not near as strong as the Delta variant, and more like a good old fashioned common cold.
According to experts, Omicron could be less deadly than the flu, and scientists believe in a boost of it that the worst of the pandemic is truly over.
Some experts have always maintained that coronavirus would eventually morph into a seasonal cold-like virus as the world develops immunity through natural infection and vaccines. However the emergence of the highly-mutated Omicron variant appears to have sped up this process dramatically.
According to The Daily Mail analysis, Covid killed up to one in ever 33 who tested positive at the peak of the devastating second wave last January, compare to now just one in 670, and that’s if you believe the those numbers. Experts believe the figure will be far lower because of Omicron.
The case fatality rate for the seasonal Flu is 0.1, which means that’s the equivalent to one in 1,000.
Meanwhile, researchers at Washington University modeling the next stage of the pandemic expect Omicron to kill up to 99 percent fewer people than Delta, another hint it could be less deadly than the Flu.
The UK government says the overall figure before Omicron was at 0.25 mortality rate of those infected with the virus. That leaves a 99.75% survival rate, it’s funny how the United States media doesn’t talk about that, isn’t it? Or the UK media.
If Omicron is 99 per cent less lethal than Delta, it suggests the current IFR could be as low as 0.0025 per cent, the equivalent of one in 40,000, although experts say this is unlikely. Instead, the Washington modelling estimates the figure actually sits in the region of 0.07 per cent, meaning approximately one in 1,430 people who get infected will succumb to the illness.
Leading researchers estimate flu’s IFR to sit between 0.01 and 0.05 per cent but argue comparing rates for the two illnesses is complicated.
Keep in mind these numbers are in England, not in America.
Cambridge University researchers, who are No10 scientific advisors, estimate that less than one per cent of under-75s who catch Covid die from the virus, with the fatality rate dropping for younger age groups. Over-75s are at most risk from the virus, with three per cent of those infected estimated to die from the virus.
The Oxford University team behind Our World in Data estimates that the UK’s IFR rate is currently 0.1 per cent. At the peak of the wave last winter, they estimated three per cent of those who caught Covid died from the virus. The declining IFR will be impacted by the increase in testing capacity this year, as comparatively more cases are now being detected.
The following is from The Daily Mail.
Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, an epidemiologist at the University of Wollongong in Australia, told MailOnline his ‘very rough best guess’ was that triple-jabbed people were at the same risk from Omicron as they are from the flu. ‘Add the new medications into the mix and it gets even more complex,’ he added.
But scientists today leaped on the estimates, saying it was more proof that the worst days of the pandemic were over and that Britain needs to get back on the path to normality.
Professor Robert Dingwall, a former JCVI member of and expert in sociology at Nottingham Trent University, told MailOnline it will be a few weeks until there are definitive Omicron fatality rates, but if they are consistent with the findings that it is less severe ‘we should be asking whether we are justified in having any measures we would not bring for a bad flu season’.
He said: ‘If we would not have brought in the measures in November 2019, why are we doing it now? What’s the specific justification for doing it?
‘If the severity of Covid infection is falling away to the point that it is comparable with flu then we really shouldn’t have exceptional levels of intervention.’
There would be no justification in having ‘any restriction we didn’t previously have’ if the modelling is confirmed in the coming weeks, Professor Dingwall said.
However, he noted that if the UK has two respiratory viruses in the population which are capable of producing significant levels of hospitalisation, the NHS may need more funding to deal with both Covid and flu to increase its capacity.
Washington University experts who made the claim that Omicron will cause 97 to 99 per cent fewer deaths than Delta — based on case and death data — admit their forecasts were more ‘optimistic’ than forecasts used by UK Government scientists.
The Prime Minister was warned that daily Covid deaths in Britain could breach 6,000 a day this winter under the worst-case scenario of Omicron’s rapid spread.
But the doomsday projection, conducted by one of the modelling sub-groups who feed into No10’s SAGE panel, was branded ‘fictitious’.
Daily coronavirus fatalities maxed out at slightly less than 1,400 during the depths of the second wave, before ministers embarked on a huge vaccination blitz.
And studies show two doses of the current crop of jabs still drastically cut the risk of patients becoming severely ill if they catch the virus, even if they offer little protection against falling ill in the first place.
Booster vaccines — already dished out to 34million people across the UK, or 60.1 per cent of over-12s — bolster immunity even further, real-world evidence shows.
Independent academics have queried the University of Washington team’s estimate, saying that they do not look plausible and there is still lots of uncertainty around Omicron data.
The researchers did not offer an actual estimate for the IFR of Omicron — which scientists still barely understand given that it was only detected for the first time in mid-November.
The team said: ‘Based on the available data, we expect the infection-fatality rate will be 97-99 per cent lower than for Delta.
‘Huge numbers of infections and moderate numbers of hospitalizations may still translate into a peak of reported (global) daily deaths over 9,000 in early February.’
The IHME team also didn’t offer an estimated IFR for Delta, which first cropped up in India before hitting the UK towards the end of spring.
Studies showed it was twice as deadly as the original virus, which was thought to have an IFR of around 1.4 per cent. But even using that figure would equate to an IFR of around 0.03 per cent if Omicron really was 97 to 99 per cent less lethal, making it similar to flu.
Their own estimates for Omicron — as almost every case will be caused by the strain by January — correspond to an IFR of around 0.07 per cent, Professor McConway said. This is based on deaths peaking at around 330 per day in Britain.
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