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Coronavirus

Could Omicron actually be a good thing?

(87 Posts)
M0nica Wed 08-Dec-21 14:28:27

It is highly infectious and so far seems to be very mild, with no known cases of hospital admission or death anywhere.

In fact a variant of COVID, that could prove less dangerous than flu. It's high level of infectiousness will mean it will overwhelm and possibly wipe out more serious and less infectious variants and provide the route out of the pandemic.

I think something simialar happened with the Spanish flu.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 08-Dec-21 14:31:46

I jolly well hope so M0nica

BlueBelle Wed 08-Dec-21 14:33:02

That’s my thoughts too Monica

Casdon Wed 08-Dec-21 14:34:37

I don’t know where you got the information from about there not being any hospital admissions with Omicron Monica, as that isn’t what the press are saying as far as I’ve read?
www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/concerning-evidence-omicron-south-africa-22389106

ayse Wed 08-Dec-21 14:34:55

I do hope so

LauraNorderr Wed 08-Dec-21 14:38:15

I sincerely hope you're right Monica. It would be wonderful for there to be an end in sight.
Fingers crossed.

BlueBelle Wed 08-Dec-21 14:41:25

The doctor who discovered the new variant certainly said that the other day as I listened to the interview Casdon She didn’t say there were no hospital admission but what she did say was there were no hospital admission that HAD BEEN VACCINATED

Alegrias1 Wed 08-Dec-21 14:43:45

I think there's a lot of mixed messages about hospitalisation, how severe it is, if it affects children worse, etc etc.

I am cautiously optimistic but could be completely wrong, I'm just a lay-person.

Glad I've got my booster.

MaizieD Wed 08-Dec-21 14:48:28

I saw a long thread on twitter yesterday in which it was cautiously proposed that the data seemed to be indicating Omicrom causing a milder version of covid. It was, IIRR, based on figures for ICU occupation.

However, it's too early to see if it causes long covid...

I'd rather be overcautiously safe than sorry...

Casdon Wed 08-Dec-21 15:21:48

Sorry to be Job’s comforter, but here’s a report from VOA for South Africa. It says that hospitalisations are increasing rapidly, and that 75-80% of hospital admissions are unvaccinated, but that the vaccination rate is only 36%.
www.voanews.com/a/south-africa-readies-hospitals-as-omicron-variant-drives-new-covid-19-wave-/6340912.html
I do think the unvaccinated in the UK are now running a very significant risk.

Baggs Wed 08-Dec-21 15:38:33

The idea that this type of virus mutates to survive –doesn't want to kill too many hosts or where does it go – was talked about at the very beginning of the pandemic by people who know about viruses. So it wouldn't be surprising if what the OP suggests might be happening.

Here's hoping anyway.

JenniferEccles Wed 08-Dec-21 15:44:08

I have read on several occasions from various sources that virus mutations very often tend to become much milder.

Maybe it’s still too early to say for certain if that’s what is happening now, but reports from South Africa tend to indicate that it produces only mild symptoms.

We will probably know more in a couple of weeks or so.

Alegrias1 Wed 08-Dec-21 15:44:21

People who know about viruses know that there is no pressure for this virus to mutate to a milder version because it can be passed on to another host before the first one is even showing symptoms.

Still, I hope that it is milder, or at the very least that our current vaccines are good enough. Which I think they are. Not that I'm an expert.

Casdon Wed 08-Dec-21 15:59:39

I think and hope you’re right Alegrias1.

I got this from Reuters.

‘GENEVA, Dec 8 (Reuters) - The Omicron variant has been reported in 57 nations and the number of patients needing hospitalisation is likely to rise as it spreads, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

The WHO, in its weekly epidemiological report, said more data was needed to assess the severity of disease caused by the Omicron variant and whether its mutations might reduce protection from vaccine-derived immunity.

"Even if the severity is equal or potentially even lower than for Delta variant, it is expected that hospitalisations will increase if more people become infected and that there will be a time lag between an increase in the incidence of cases and an increase in the incidence of deaths," it said.’

As I read it, it’s the risk of sick unvaccinated patients overwhelming the hospitals that the UK governments are very concerned about, and the requirement for the booster vaccinations to stay ahead of the curve of the infections.

Alegrias1 Wed 08-Dec-21 16:16:07

As I read it, it’s the risk of sick unvaccinated patients overwhelming the hospitals that the UK governments are very concerned about, and the requirement for the booster vaccinations to stay ahead of the curve of the infections.

Agreed Casdon.

growstuff Wed 08-Dec-21 16:20:59

Alegrias1

People who know about viruses know that there is no pressure for this virus to mutate to a milder version because it can be passed on to another host before the first one is even showing symptoms.

Still, I hope that it is milder, or at the very least that our current vaccines are good enough. Which I think they are. Not that I'm an expert.

I agree. Viruses don't have any pressure on them to do anything. They don't "decide" whether to be stronger or milder. Mutations are random and the most successful survive.

If the variant does prove to be more transmissible but its effects are milder, it would be great. However, there's no guarantee. At the moment, the UK doesn't even have the capacity to identify all cases, so much is still unknown.

M0nica Wed 08-Dec-21 17:10:00

The strategy for dealing with flu, is vaccination. If you are vaccinated against COVID, omicron is a mild disease.

Everyone has free choice as to whether they are vaccinated or not. yes, there are a few exceptions, but it is a few exceptions.

The person who chooses not to be vaccinated against COVID is in much the same position as anyone who refuses any other vaccination. They have chosen consciously to take the risk that if they catch the disease, whether, mumps, shingles, or COVID, because they have not been vaccinated that they may be very ill and may die. It is their choice I do not know why they should be considered in the equation.

But for the majority of people who are vaccinated, Omicron may well be the way out.

I am merely speculating, but perhaps it is time with new treatments being announced almost daily and vaccinations becoming more quickly adaptable, we should be looking forward and planning how we can live normal lives with the disease.

LOUISA1523 Wed 08-Dec-21 21:05:31

M0nica

The strategy for dealing with flu, is vaccination. If you are vaccinated against COVID, omicron is a mild disease.

Everyone has free choice as to whether they are vaccinated or not. yes, there are a few exceptions, but it is a few exceptions.

The person who chooses not to be vaccinated against COVID is in much the same position as anyone who refuses any other vaccination. They have chosen consciously to take the risk that if they catch the disease, whether, mumps, shingles, or COVID, because they have not been vaccinated that they may be very ill and may die. It is their choice I do not know why they should be considered in the equation.

But for the majority of people who are vaccinated, Omicron may well be the way out.

I am merely speculating, but perhaps it is time with new treatments being announced almost daily and vaccinations becoming more quickly adaptable, we should be looking forward and planning how we can live normal lives with the disease.

And yet now we are fast going headlong into Plan B...... and most likely more restrictions on their way ?

Allsorts Wed 08-Dec-21 21:18:16

I cannot see how another variant if Covid 19 can be classed as a good thing. I do think we have to be aware of the risks of not taking every precautions against it. Tge people not vaccinated will be tge one’s admitted to hospital and probably not come out or if they do with life changing health issues, that’s their choice, but I don’t see why other people like nurses and carers should pay the price, it’s 20 times more likely you are to catch Covid from a non vaccinated person. I won’t knowingly mix with them, continue to wear my mask in public places, got used to it now, we have to live with it.

M0nica Wed 08-Dec-21 23:37:29

I am, of course, just putting the other side as recommended in two other threads [smili]

It is just that I began to wonder. I am afraid I am utterly indifferent to the unvaccinated (except those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons), but yes, I do agree about, the pressure on the health services.

Perhaps the unvaccinated could be put under lockdown until the danger is over.

Deedaa Wed 08-Dec-21 23:48:33

I see they are saying that three doses of the Pfizer vaccine are effective against Omicron so my fingers are crossed that they're right.

Rosie51 Wed 08-Dec-21 23:58:33

While we won't get any definitive answers for a few weeks, I'm encouraged by the numbers of 'medics' who think this variant, while hugely more transmissible, is less lethal. We can hope this will be our pathway out of the pandemic. We live with influenza and its mutations every year, we may have to live in the same way with Covid.

MayBee70 Thu 09-Dec-21 01:25:05

Yes. I’m really hopeful, too ( unusual for me). However, if it doesn’t turn out to be more mild than Delta I think it will absolutely floor me: which is why I usually take the pessimistic approach! Less danger of disappointment if I do that.

growstuff Thu 09-Dec-21 06:56:47

Allsorts

I cannot see how another variant if Covid 19 can be classed as a good thing. I do think we have to be aware of the risks of not taking every precautions against it. Tge people not vaccinated will be tge one’s admitted to hospital and probably not come out or if they do with life changing health issues, that’s their choice, but I don’t see why other people like nurses and carers should pay the price, it’s 20 times more likely you are to catch Covid from a non vaccinated person. I won’t knowingly mix with them, continue to wear my mask in public places, got used to it now, we have to live with it.

I'm not sure where your evidence is that somebody is 20 times more likely to catch Covid from a non-vaccinated person. Do you have any links?

It's mostly speculation at the moment, but the theory about Omicron being a good thing is as follows:

It's known that the Omicron variant has mutations which mean it's more easily transmissible. It also seems to provide some immunity against all variants. Therefore, if a person catches Omicron, they won't be infected with other variants. That means that other variants will run out of hosts and will die out.

At the moment, it's theoretical. Nobody really knows. It appears that Omicron causes less severe illness, but so far most of the data comes from South Africa, which has a young population. The results might be different in the rest of the world.

To date, nobody really knows for sure how effective current vaccines are against Omicron. Scientists are working to adapt, but it takes time to do the research and trial and produce vaccines.

There is also the likelihood that Omicron itself will mutate, in which case the resulting variant could cause more severe outcomes - or maybe not.

The fact is that speculation is not very meaningful. For the moment, it would be wise to reduce risk of being infected, using all the methods people know about.

maddyone Thu 09-Dec-21 13:43:49

I do hope you’re correct Monica.