Omicron on a relentless rampage - GulfToday

Omicron on a relentless rampage

Illustrative image.

This is the third year that we have been living with the virus, which is showing no signs of relenting. Instead of showing a letup, it is only spiralling. The intensity seems to be getting sharper. One has to be resigned to live with it.

The indications are very distressing.

To illustrate. More than half of Europeans are likely to catch the Omicron Covid variant in the next two months if infections continue at the current rate, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.

At the same time, WHO experts warn that repeating booster doses of the original Covid vaccines is not a viable strategy against emerging variants and call for new jabs that better protect against transmission.

Omicron variant related economic disruptions could substantially reduce world economic growth to as low as 3.4 percent this year from an estimated 5.5 percent in 2021, the World Bank says.

China has gone into overdrive in combating the pandemic. Five million residents of the central Chinese city of Anyang are confined to their homes — the third city to be completely locked down — as the country pursues a strict zero-Covid policy.  The spread of the Omicron variant is pushing Covid towards being an endemic disease that humanity can live with, although it remains a pandemic for now, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) says.

But what takes the cake is the prediction by a top government expert in India. He said the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is “almost unstoppable” and everyone will eventually be infected with it. Stressing that Covid is not a frightening disease anymore as the new strain is milder and is leading to much less hospitalisation, he said that Omicron is a disease we can deal with. “A majority of us will not know we have been infected, probably more than 80% will not even know when we have it,” said Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, epidemiologist and chairperson, Scientific Advisory Committee at ICMR’s National Institute of Epidemiology, according to a report in a section of the Indian media.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hit again by revelations of another lockdown drinks party at Downing Street after an email emerged inviting 100 staff to ‘bring your own booze’.

 Unequal access to Covid-19 vaccines is widening the gap between rich countries and the developing world, threatening the cooperation needed to tackle common challenges such as climate change, the World Economic Forum warns. The coronavirus has killed at least 5,494,101 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019. The United States has recorded the most Covid deaths with 839,500, followed by Brazil with 620,091, India on 484,213 and Russia 317,687.

Taking into account excess mortality linked to Covid-19, the WHO estimates the overall death toll could be two to three times higher.

The record number of hospitalisations over the virus have put the life of America’s top scientist Anthony Fauci in jeopardy. The threat is external, not internal.

Fauci slammed a vaccine sceptic Republican senator for unleashing “crazies” who were threatening his life and harassing his family, in an unusually emotional congressional testimony on Tuesday. The hospitalisations have reached 145,982. The United States is the world’s hardest-hit country, with more than 840,000 deaths, and is reeling from its fifth wave. Paul, who has railed against vaccine mandates and refused to get vaccinated, said Fauci was personally to blame for people’s deaths.

Paul said Fauci was the “lead architect” of America’s Covid response, blaming him for the around 450,000 deaths that occurred since Biden took office. The 81-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases added the attacks distracted from the important work of tackling the pandemic, and made him a personal target for violence.

“All of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there, and I have life threats upon my life, harassment of my family, and my children with obscene phone calls.”

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