A ray of light – the spread of infection is declining in South Africa
A new infectious omicron variant may be the beginning of the end of a pandemic.
This is the view of Jens Lundgren, a Danish professor of infectious diseases.
It may actually be that the virus has trapped itself in a corner, he says To TV2 News.
The omicron variant was discovered in South Africa at the end of November and has since spread at a furious pace all over the world. Health Minister Magnus Heunick (S) said this week that the new, more contagious alternative is now the virus prevalent in the country.
Severe new restrictions have been introduced with, among other things, shutting down entertainment and cultural life to slow infection and reduce pressure on healthcare.
But the new alternative is both bad and good news, thinks Jens Lundgren, professor of infectious diseases at the Rijkshauspitalt in Copenhagen.
– It’s challenging many countries today because the increase in infections is very violent. That’s why it’s such a big problem in the short term, he tells TV2 Nyheter.
It may have reached its climax
But in the slightly longer term, the rapid spread of infection can result in the infection wave being passed early. Also, the pandemic “burns out” faster as more people quickly get protection from the virus, according to Lundgren.
– It could be really bad right now, but it could also be an advantage in the long run, so we can shorten the epidemic.
Reports from South Africa suggest that the infection may already have reached a peak in Guateng, the province where the new species was first detected.
– We saw a very rapid increase in the number of cases and the evidence suggests that we have since seen a significant decrease, says Waasila Jassat of the NICD, the Institute of Public Health in South Africa.
Comparing different countries should be done with caution, says the head of the African Center for Infection Control. Even the Washington Post, Because they differ in demographics among other things. For example, South Africa has a higher proportion of young people than Denmark.
“Cannot create new variables”
The omicron variant is more contagious than the previous variants and it is also believed that the vaccine may be less effective on it. But there are also hopeful signs that it’s a milder disease.
Data from South African health authorities shows that hospital admissions are lower for the omicron than for the delta. According to data between October and early December, an uninfected person is 80 percent less likely to be hospitalized. Data from the UK puts the figure at 60 per cent.
The time for a COVID patient to be cared for in hospital is also shorter. Lundgren now thinks the coronavirus may have hit a dead end.
In fact, the reason may be that the virus has trapped itself in a corner from which it cannot transmit. That is, no new variants can be made that are competitive with omikron, says Jens Lundgren.
In the near future, the Danish professor expects the research scientist to be able to give a clear message about the properties of the variant and determine whether it causes milder disease.
In January, I expect we’ll be wiser about whether omicrons are milder, he says.
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