The more it spreads, the more Omicron will surge till the third week peaks. And that is the fear. Easy transmissibility and milder symptoms can be the silver lining but a sudden swell of cases, with even a minuscule landing up in the hospital, could mean crushing down health services.
More infections also give the virus more opportunities to mutate and the possibility of a more virulent variant in future is something the world cannot afford to, given the global health and economic crisis.
“SARS-CoV-2 has surprised us in many different ways over the past two years, and we have no way of predicting the evolutionary trajectory of this virus,” Reuters quoted David Ho, professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University, as saying.
Hence, the government has put in place stricter curbs so as to pre-empt the possible surge. There is still a large section of the global population that are unvaccinated and it is their vulnerability that might pose to be a worry.
Another reason to take preventive measures against Omicron is that people with milder symptoms could still infect others who are at risk for severe illness. There is also a lack of data on the long-term effects of Omicron infection, which means underestimating Omicron could put people at risk of a debilitating long Covid that has been shown to linger for months.
The healthcare infrastructure could witness tremendous strain given the high transmissibility of the variant. Reports suggest 93.6% of hospital beds currently are vacant across 15 states and Union territory. Even in the US and Britain, the healthcare system has been overwhelmed with record hospitalisations. Hospitals have had to postpone elective surgeries due to a record surge in infections.