Amidst the continuing chaos of the pandemic, there is one piece of encouraging news.
Studies from around the world suggest that the Omicron variant causing COVID-19 cases to skyrocket across B.C. is milder than the previously dominant Delta variant.
“We are seeing more and more studies pointing out that Omicron is infecting the upper part of the body,” an official with the World Health Organization said this week. “It can be good news, but we really require more studies to prove that.”
Studies in several countries, which have yet to be fully vetted through the peer review process, show that Omicron tends to affect the nose and throat, rather than attacking the lungs like previous variants.
So even though cases are soaring in many parts of the world–including B.C., which is experiencing a record seven day average of 4,400 cases per day–deaths and serious illness are not rising at the same rate.
But you should still be cautious because this current Omicron surge presents big threats.
Cases are rising so fast that there could be serious disruptions to hospitals, as well as businesses that we all depend on. “As much as a third of the workforce in BC could be impacted by COVID-19 and Omicron,” the Daily Hive reports, referencing a warning from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Because there are so many cases, lots of people could still get seriously ill.
“Our challenge across the board in the next few weeks will be dealing with high numbers of people who are off ill,” Henry said. “If we can flatten it out then we can protect our healthcare system, because even a small proportion of people needing hospital care can have such a dramatic impact on the healthcare system.”