A new COVID-19 sub-variant has been discovered in Europe, dubbed “Stealth Omicron” because of it’s detection difficulty using PCR methods. GOV.UK reported earlier this week that 8040 sequences of the variant have been uploaded to the GISAID database. The earliest cases of Stealth Omicron date back to early December 2021.
In The United States the variant has reached Texas, San Francisco, Connecticut, Chicago and Nebraska.
There’s speculation the variant is slightly more transmissible that the original Omicron. However, reports out of Denmark show hospitalization rates are no different. In fact—hospitalization rates in the ICUs are decreasing according to The Washington Post. “… we are not so concerned, since we so far do not see major differences in age distribution, vaccination status, breakthrough infections and risk of hospitalization.” said a Denmark virologist in their interview.
Other health officials don’t seem concerned about the variant. “There’s nothing that we’ve seen at this point that is raising a high level of concern but please rest assured we’re watching it and we’ll let you know if there’s anything to be interested or concerned about” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, as reported by MSNBC 5 Chicago.
At this point in time, naming COVID variants is meaningless. The virus is likely to become endemic—similar to that of Influenza. And yet there isn’t any concern over The Flu because a vaccine is available and natural immunity provides ample protection.
The more that times passes, COVID gradually moves into the same category as Influenza. This delays as long as every new variant is publicized.
If Stealth Omicron cases have been circulating the globe since December 2021 there isn’t a rational reason for concern. For almost two months now, Omicron has been infecting people—and yet—there are no new, observable phenomena.
Omicron (and now it’s variant) is highly transmissible and have resulted in hundreds-of-thousands infections. But COVID cases in of themselves aren’t significant. Deaths are, and they’ve been decreasing since January 2021.
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