The Omicron variant is well and truly upon us, but is it as a dangerous as it has been portrayed within the media?
It is understood that the Omicron variant of Covid-19, is far more transmissible compared to other variants of the virus, with it being 5.4 more times greater in comparison to the Delta variant. As of the 16th December 2021, there has been a total of 10,740 cases in England, 210 in Northern Ireland, 663 in Scotland and 95 in Wales making a total of 11,708 cases within the United Kingdom.
Hospitalisations are still quite low however, as of 16th December, there is only 16 cases in hospital, with 1 death.
Symptoms are now displaying signs of a “very bad cold” and experts now suggesting it will only provide us with a very “mild illness”. A recent study from the ZOE team have suggested that people should now be looking out for:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Loss of smell
Professionals and medical experts have also been telling us not to wait for the usual signs of Covid-19 such as the cough, sore throat, temperature and loss of taste, but to test as soon as we see one of these newer symptoms start to develop.
We have also been told by medical professions that test and trace most likely will not work in this case as it only takes around two days of coming into contact to get the infection – realistically you have already spread it to someone else by the time you have had your test and trace results!
So how bad is the actual Omicron variant? Well, what we understand is that upon research and statistics, it is far more transmissible as shown thanks to the data we have been given with one death, but what we know that was that the person who died was unvaccinated. With the booster programme now in full swing and ministers worrying about the effects of the variant, it is no wonder that it has left members of the public feeling bemused. Some have even felt that having three vaccinations in the space of six months is somewhat sceptical and have told us that they are feeling “apprehensive” over getting their third dose.
From the Government’s advice, getting a booster will ensure a higher chance of immunity, whilst also keeping hospitalisations as low as possible. But what is not clear to us yet is that, although the boosters should keep the hospital wards lower than without the booster, no vaccination is 100% effective to immunity, meaning that hospitalisation will still be likely.
With the United Kingdom’s infection rate going higher and higher, it is a question and a matter of time before we find out will the NHS become overwhelmed and is there more restrictions to come in the future?