Could Omicron be a blessing in disguise?
9th December 2021
So we are at the start of the Omicron Covid wave in the UK and following on from the kerfuffle of the “Downing Street Party” the government has implemented “Plan B” in attempt (they say) to reduce the impact of Omicron on the NHS rather than to distract from the loss of trust in a government who practice a “do as I say not as I do policy”. You make your own judgement on this, I have made mine and have no confidence in this government, this prime minister or MP’s who are supposed to uphold the law as directed in their code of conduct. But, let’s move away from the politics of Covid and look specifically at Omicron.
The data on Omicron from South Africa suggests that although Omicron evades the full effects of the vaccine it only causes a mild illness akin to flu. However, even flu results in significant disease and 8000 deaths in a normal year so if we can avoid it, we should.
On top of this we have to consider that proportion of the population who are unvaccinated. At the beginning of September it was estimated that 18 million people (27%) were unvaccinated, Omicron is moving so quickly that it is very likely that these unvaccinated members of the population will be exposed to this virus and become immune. That will increase herd immunity and decrease virus transmission going forward. This will expedite normality but in the interim we must try and ensure that the NHS is not overstretched.
Viruses have a genetic potential that they need to achieve. It would make no sense for a virus to kill it’s host, it’s objective is to replicate and propagate. In order to do this it is an evolutionary advantage for the virus to transmit more effectively but to reduce it’s potential to kill the host. This is exactly what Omicron has done. Hopefully we are now heading towards a virus that will cause mild illness with a significant immune response in the host that protects from more aggressive strains of the virus and which addresses the lack of vaccination in a minority of the population. Only time will tell but in the meantime please be safe:
1. Avoid unnecessary social gatherings indoors
2. Wear a face mask, ideally a FFP2 or N95 mask. Cloth coverings only give 10% protection
3. If you are having a gathering, try and get into the habit of doing lateral flow tests on everyone that is attending.
4. Get vaccinated and get the booster, it’s very safe and very effective!
Dr Tim Ubhi