While the new variant of the omicron coronavirus is highly contagious, for now it does not appear to cause serious illness, and two Israeli doctors suggest that perhaps the long-awaited natural group immunity could be achieved with it.
Two well-known Israeli doctors from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Zvika Granot and Amnon Lahad, told a meeting with foreign journalists this week that while the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 is concerning, it is not a disaster for health and It may even signal the end of the global health crisis.
“We have been living with the coronavirus for two years and we have seen new variants appear, and a new variant, by definition, is more contagious than the previous one,” explained Granot, director of the laboratory for biological and cancer research at the Hebrew University.
And he added: “Generally, viruses that are very aggressive are not very contagious and those that are very contagious are not very aggressive.”
The experts stated that omicron is indeed more contagious than delta but they wondered if it was more aggressive and concluded that it is essential to investigate more, although according to the World Health Organization, no deaths have yet been recorded from the new variant.
Many infected but few sick
The experts pointed out that the situation is very dynamic and that deaths by omicron will probably be recorded, but they refined that, from the pandemic point of view, the end of the coronavirus will happen when there is a highly contagious variant with few symptoms.
“A lot of people are going to get it, but they will have runny nose and maybe a fever for a couple of days, and then they will go on with their normal life. When these types of situations occur, the vast majority become infected and overcome it, developing true group immunity, ”said Granot.
“From some point of view, I think it is possible that omicron is the light at the end of the tunnel,” he added.
There is no impending disaster
Lahad, who heads the department of general medicine at the university, said that the media and governments speak of “imminent disastrous situation” because they see that the numbers of positive cases are increasing, but noted that if you look in detail, it is verified that Indeed, PCR tests show more positive cases but no increase is seen in severe cases, rather a decrease or stability.
And the movement is the same in different countries, in South Africa, where the vaccination rate is much lower than in Israel, and also in Great Britain, they explained. “The catastrophe is more in public opinion than in the real situation in emergencies and first aid clinics,” Lahad insisted.
The expert based his assumption on preliminary data indicating that 60% of omicron wearers have no symptoms and said his mission now is to try to convince everyone not to get carried away by hysteria or shut down country because this variant will not saturate the health system.
Both doctors noted that we are likely approaching the post-pandemic state in which we live with the coronavirus as we do with the various variants of influenza and other viruses.
Cautiously but optimistically, Dr. Granot opined that he understands the omicron variant as a step that brings us closer to the end of the pandemic.
However, both emphasized the need to continue using masks, keep their distance and, the most important thing, if there are any symptoms of illness, no matter how slight, the responsibility and obligation is to stay at home and not go out to the supermarket, neither to work nor to school.
With information from Fuente Latina