The headlines scream Omicron is here and the infection rates are soaring. There is another variant discovered somewhere else. Welcome to cold, flu, and covid season coronavirus style.
This highly efficient and infective variant is infecting those who are vaccinated, not vaccinated, or boosted. The government is suggesting we don’t look at the overall number of infections which is likely a good idea as it is not helpful to do so. Fewer people are being hospitalized or dying from the Omicron variant and the illness from it comes and goes much more quickly than previous versions of the covid-19 virus.
During a normal cold and flu season as mentioned in a previous blog, there may be many viruses infecting many of us, leaving us with a cough for weeks on end yet, we wore no masks, and just did what we always did. This pandemic, with covid-19 infecting every nuance of our lives, people are scared and while it did a lot of damage, Omicron sends few to the hospital. Unfortunately, since such a high volume of people experienced it, hospitals and their staff are being severely strained anyway.
There is good news
Omicron appears to offer natural protection from all other variants due to its shape. Also, due to its highly infective nature, we are all likely to be exposed and that may be a good thing. This variant may finally bring us to herd immunity. The highly infective nature makes this more efficient than trying to vaccinate millions because it cares nothing about your political affiliation or beliefs based on a youtube video shared by others, or your fear of infection. You may not even know you had it.
After infection, your body will produce antibodies which according to growing evidence, could mean the end of the pandemic and these huge waves, the testing, the overt fear, and the effects on how we live our lives. The quarantines will go away and society may ask you to mask up if you have a cold to protect others, not an unreasonable socially conscious thing to do. There are many in the medical community that believes it will become endemic meaning that we will always have a few in our population affected by the virus but it will be more like the seasonal flu.
There is also evidence that it infects, peaks, and then drops quickly from society as it burns itself out. It highly infects the public, they develop immunity regardless of your vaccination status, fewer people can host the virus due to immunity, it burns itself out and disappears. This, by the way, may offer clues on how immunity works naturally in the general populations with viruses we naturally fight off and experience as the common cold.
Putting this in perspective, ignore the headlines. Growing evidence as we now see in areas like Great Britain and in the US is it is likely to self resolve as fast as it infected our society. Medically speaking, we are always given something to worry about. Our immune systems, as well as the immune systems of other animals, have evolved over thousands of years to handle things like viruses and other infections. At-home testing may help you identify it and stay away from others however if you had this already, you are unlikely to get it again even if exposed a second time. For most of us, it is a virus our body develops immunity to naturally, with the symptoms representing our body’s reaction to it.
WebMD had a very good discussion regarding this. Check it out below.
Could Omicron Hasten the Transition From Pandemic to Endemic?
By Damian McNamara, MA Jan. 6, 2022
The record-setting surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide – including more than 1 million new infections reported on Monday – raises questions about whether the more contagious Omicron variant will speed a transition from pandemic to endemic disease.
Also, does the steep increase in number of people testing positive for coronavirus mean the United States could finally achieve a meaningful level of “herd immunity’?
Infectious disease experts weigh in on these possibilities.
An Endemic Eventuality?
Whether the current surge will mean the predicted switch to endemic COVID-19 will come sooner, however, “is very hard to predict,” Michael Lin, MD, MPH, says.
“It’s an open question,” `he says, “if another highly transmissible variant will emerge.”
On a positive note, “at this point many more people have received their vaccinations or been infected,” says Lin, a hospital epidemiologist at Rush Medical College in Chicago.
“It could end up being a seasonal variant,” he says.
COVID-19 going endemic is “a real possibility, but unfortunately … it doesn’t seem necessarily that we’re going to have the same predictable pattern we have with the flu,” says Eleftherios Mylonakis, MD, chief of infectious diseases for Lifespan, which operates hospitals and clinics across Rhode Island Hospital.