Thursday, 13 January 2022

What Omicron will be like ...

 I might not be very good at maths but I never bought into the developing "Omicron is the Covid we can live with" narrative.  I remember reading that Omicron was about half as likely to end you in hospital as delta was ... but, I thought, given it is several multiples more contagious, how does that help?  You still end up with more people in hospital and more deaths, even if your individual chances of not dying are better.

The figures from Britain confirm (Thank you, The Guardian) this half-baked idea of mine:


Nothing is as bad as the Alpha wave, but that's because of the mitigating effect of vaccines.  But note that Britain has just experienced two consecutive days where deaths almost hit 500.  In New Zealand terms, that would be about 30 deaths a day.

The other day, Britain reached the grim 150,000 deaths mark.  Do you remember the early days when experts were saying the country would be doing well to get through the pandemic with 20,000 deaths?  I think we can admit Britain has not done well.  As I remember it, the Alpha wave seemed to stick at about 45,000 for ages - then when Delta hit the numbers shot up.  I suspect we will see the same - the sheer number of people getting sick will mean more hospitalizations and deaths.  And on top of that there is the additional impact of absence on the economy, and of delays and cancellations on non-Covid hospitalizations.

Here in New Zealand, we've become pretty complacent again. We swatted off Alpha and seem to have knocked Delta out the ring.  But once Omicron gets loose in the community, there won't be much we can do to stop it other than another significant, rigidly adhered to lockdown and - it is unlikely the population will accept a third extended lockdown.  Its impact will be unlike either of the two previous ways.

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What Omicron will be like ...

 I might not be very good at maths but I never bought into the developing "Omicron is the Covid we can live with" narrative.  I re...