As we entered the holiday season and we approach the New Year, a period of increasing number of indoor family gatherings, the number of cases across the country continues to rise mostly because of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the deadly virus.
Omicron was discovered in November in Africa and in a matter of weeks, it became the dominant strain worldwide infecting both the fully vaccinated as well as those with natural immunity. Since the variant is new, there are multiple ongoing studies that should reveal more details about the strain.
As of now, just a little is known about Omicron. The ongoing studies shows that the variant is fast-spreading one mostly because of the high number of mutations, which is believed to be more than 30. A positive element seems to be the fact that most of the Omicron cases so far only have mild symptoms, but Dr. Anthony Fauci says that we should not take the Omicron for granted in any case.
“If you have many, many, many more people with a less level of severity,” Fauci told ABC’s This Week on Sunday, “that might kind of neutralise the positive effect of having less severity. “We’re particularly worried about those who are in that unvaccinated class … those are the most vulnerable ones when you have a virus that is extraordinarily effective in getting to people.”
Even former president Donald Trump earlier this week endorsed vaccination and urged everyone to get the shot as soon as possible. He also confirmed that he got the booster dose of the vaccine few days ago. As expected, that sparked anger to his supporters, but Fauci thinks Trump did the right thing taking the booster dose of the vaccine and urging the public to follow the same path.
Speaking to Axios, Fauci said it was “conceivable that sooner or later everybody will have been infected and/or vaccinated or boosted”.
“When you get to that point,” he said, “unless you have a very bizarre variant come in that evades all protection – which would be unusual – then I think you could get to that point where you have this at a steady level.”
Some countries already went a step further when it comes to vaccination. According to multiple reports, Israel was the first country in the world to offer fourth dose of the Covid-19 to some categories of people. But other countries will probably follow Israel decision and also allow people to get fourth dose of the vaccines very soon.
Fauci also commented the rapid home-kits tests shortage recently. This is what he said:
“If you look at the beginning of the [Biden] administration,” Fauci said, “… there were essentially no rapid point-of-care home tests available. Now, there are over nine of them and more coming. Production has been rapidly upscaled.
“… But the situation where you have such a high demand, a conflation of events, Omicron stirring people to get appropriately concerned and wanting to get tested as well as [a] run on tests during the holiday season – we’ve obviously got to do better.
“I think things will improve greatly as we get into January, but that doesn’t help us today and tomorrow. So you’re right, [access to testing] is of concern.”
While people are celebrating holidays with their families, health experts believe that the number of new Covid-19 cases will sky-rocket after the holidays.