Omicron may spell pandemic’s end, predicts doctor
The Omicron variant may be an indication that the Covid-19 pandemic will come to an end within this year, a respiratory expert with Bangkok’s Vichaiyut Hospital predicted on Friday.
In a Facebook post, Dr Manoon Leechawengongs pointed out that the Omicron variant has mutated significantly from the original coronavirus and its impact is far milder.
“Omicron is proof of a virus’ nature, in that it adapts itself by producing milder symptoms so it does not kill the host and can live inside them for as long as it can,” he said. “Sooner or later, most people will be infected with the Omicron variant regardless of their ethnicity, sex or age.
“Dr Wasan [Chantrathit, chief of Ramathibodi Hospital’s Centre for Medical Genomics] and I agree that as more people get vaccinated against Covid-19, we will achieve herd immunity against the virus, causing the pandemic to come to an end this year,” Manoon said.
“Thanks to Omicron, Covid-19 will eventually become an endemic infection, with young children getting it every year.”
An endemic infection is one that is constantly present to a greater or lesser degree in people of a certain class or living in a particular location.
“Since Omicron produces milder symptoms than the Delta variant, vaccinated people who get it will mostly suffer from symptoms that are no different than a common cold,” he added. “However, I strongly advise those in risky groups, such as seniors, pregnant women and people with underlying health problems to get vaccinated as soon as they can. If you have already had two shots, get a booster before most people in the country are infected by the Omicron variant in the next month or two.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO), however, on Thursday warned against categorising the Omicron variant as mild, saying it was killing people across the planet.
“While Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorised as mild,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted as saying by AFP.