Omicron, the current bogeyman of our pandemic, does not seem to fit the mold of how dangerous coronavirus can be. Yes, there are some very virulent issues with the Omicron variant, but there is a lot to rejoice about at the same time.
Denmark & Omicron
https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/denmark-sees-initial-signs-that-dire-omicron-surge-can-be-avoided/. Over 77% of Denmark’s citizens have had two vaccine doses, and over 35% have had a booster shot. That is impressive!
At the same time, the world is experiencing increased new cases/day of COVID-19 (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/) with the current level over 750,000 (seven-day average). However, the daily deaths are decreasing to below 6,200/day. That is excellent news!
99.4% of Danes have survived COVID-19
(https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/denmark/) Less than 100 Danes today have severe/serious cases. The weekly average of new cases, mostly Omicron, is over 10,000/day and appears to be stabilizing. This level is nearly three times the previous record surge of new COVID-19 cases. However, daily deaths are less than half of the last surge and are barely double digits. Again, great news!
Denmark tracks hospitalizations rates (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1105720/patients-hospitalized-due-to-coronavirus-in-denmark/) more carefully than most countries. Denmark planned for up to 250/day hospitalized with the Omicron variant and is currently averaging around 125/day.
Data from South Africa, where the Omicron variant first appeared, are meager – half or lower the rate of the Delta variant at its peak. A Scottish study indicates that the Omicron variant accounts for 60% fewer hospitalizations. A new English study suggests that the real Omicron threat is that infected people requiring hospitalization is around 20%, with 40% of those remaining over one night.
Denmark & 2022
Denmark is ahead of the power curve with vaccinations and boosters, especially compared to South Africa. The daily deaths are negligible, with the number of new COVID-19 cases skyrocketing. I think that is something to celebrate.
However, we hear that it is too early to relax. Or the Danish data is too early to measure the Omicron variant’s severity directly. More tracking and study must be done with other emerging data. There are still too many uncertainties. Even if the risk of hospitalization is lower, the sheer number of new cases will cause healthcare issues. Disruptions abound, especially with the young.
Denmark has controlled the Omicron variant in the areas that matter most – daily deaths and hospitalizations. New cases are continuing to rise steeply, but we will know in another week if they have plateaued. Should other countries in Europe be concerned? Yes, it is never time to take the pandemic less than seriously. However, we can rejoice occasionally when the news is positive.
We have been in this viral conundrum for over two years (since the first recorded case). Everything we read or hear is doom and gloom. When positive news occurs, there are disclaimers and cautions. We cannot even enjoy a few days of a positive trend.
Silver linings are rare. I see the Omicron variant as a silver lining in our pandemic world. More COVID-19 infected people are and surviving. That means more people will acquire natural immunity.
Some say that naturally acquired immunity is not as good as being fully vaccinated. However, most of those studies were conducted during the first month of being fully vaccinated when vaccine protection levels were three out of 100,000. It is hard to compete with numbers like that. However, six months later, the infection rate dropped from 3/100,000 to 1/500.
mRNA vaccines see a sliver of the coronavirus spike. This thin slice is what our immune systems should recognize as a threat. It worked well for the Alpha and Beta variants, not for the Delta variant. And it is not working to any significant degree for the Omicron variant. Survivors of the pandemic virus have seen the entire spike plus the rest of the viral molecule. Their immune systems have recorded significantly more data about the viral threat – regardless of variant.
The devil is in the details, even with negative news. Fewer people are dying from COVID-19. More are becoming naturally immune. The most vulnerable are still those over 60 years of age with health issues. They must be protected.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com