Most of us remember how bad the Delta variant of COVID-19 was just a few months ago. I was one of the fortunate ones to survive Delta with just a cough and a bit of fatigue. Many were not.
However, the latest headlines are focused on daily records of new cases of COVID-19 brought on by the Omicron variant. For weeks, health authorities recognized the enhanced capability of the Omicron variant to infect people.
However, there was little confirmation that it was as deadly as the Delta variant. There seemed to be a ‘wait and see’ world view, or at least in the United States, of the real impact of this viral mutation.
https://www.axios.com/cdc-omicron-death-delta-variant-covid-959f1e3a-b09c-4d31-820c-90071f8e7a4f.html?fbclid=IwAR1wqpjnC1S4_cH5i3Vd2oc_CUBslhqzxbRczXOn78plu94oi-nDYmuquxY. Kaiser Permanente Southern California published results showing that the Omicron variant is much less deadly than the Delta variant – 91% less deadly.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SARS-CoV-2_Delta_variant. The Delta variant of COVID-19 surfaced in India in late 2020. It was not until May of 2021 that North Texas reported the first cases of Delta in the United States. There are roughly 13 mutations in the SARS-Co-V-2 virus spike associated with the Delta variant.
The first case of Omicron reported in the United States was in December 2021. Over 50 mutations were observed, with 30 of them in the spike. https://www.acrobiosystems.com/A1353-According-to-the-mutations%3A-Why-is-Omicron-causing-such-concern.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiAoY-PBhCNARIsABcz770wzBtNnQO6Rzkl5DeCefrj3PFCw6I1KPV6E_Ld9KoYSGAQ-k3mCPYaAi5XEALw_wcB
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.01.11.22269045v1.full.pdf. Over 50,000 Omicron infections and nearly 17,000 Delta cases were reviewed in this study. All were confirmed cases between the end of November 2021 and the first of January 2022.
People infected with Omicron were three out of four times less likely to need treatment in an ICU than those with the Delta variant. Slight over one out of two needed hospitalizations in a similar comparison. None required ventilators.
Hospital visits were also significantly shorter with those infected by Omicron (1.5 days) to Delta (5 days). The problem facing our healthcare industry is not the minimal number of days in a hospital but the overwhelming magnitude of Omicron infection.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/. During the height of Delta (and it is not over yet), the new cases of COVID-19 were over 160,000 daily. This week, over 800,000 cases of Omicron were reported.
The number of infected is probably well over a million because many do not have symptoms or are so mild they do not get tested. In some cases, testing facilities were overwhelmed, and people recovered before testing could be done.
Daily deaths averaged over 2,000 at the height of Delta’s surge. However, the daily deaths continued to climb this past week to 1,800. Some reports indicate that some of those deaths are probably related to Delta infections.
That makes sense when you look at the worldwide statistics. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/. The Delta surge had over 650,000 new cases daily at its height compared to over 3.25 million new cases daily from the Omicron variant. In addition, worldwide deaths continue to decline from over 10,000 daily deaths from Delta compared to this week’s report of under 7,000 daily deaths.
Hospitals are being pushed to the maximum in parts of the United States because four to five times more people are infected with COVID-19. The good news is that many are released within a couple of days when they have the Omicron variant compared to around a week for those infected by Delta.
I think this is a possible pathway for herd immunity. Two percent of Americans have died from COVID-19 – most of them in the first three months of the pandemic. The death rate is less than one percent when the early deaths are not considered. Factor in the people with multiple health issues, and the death rate is probably under half of one percent.
Annually, the United States typically has 2,800,000 obesity-related deaths, 650,000 heart-related deaths, 600,000 cancer deaths, 480,000 smoking-related deaths, 465K COVID-19 deaths, 385,000 2020 COVID-19 deaths, 40,000 pneumonia-related deaths, and 35,000 seasonal influenza deaths on the average.
Less than 60,000 out of 860,000 deaths from COVID-19 occurred in people less than 50 years of age. Should you worry about becoming infected by the Omicron variant if you are under 50? Yes, everyone should worry.
How much you worry depends on your health, mostly on your immune system.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com