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Omicron Detected in 38 Countries, But Officials Says the Variant Hasn't Claimed a Single Life

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Despite the pronouncement that the omicron variant is a “deadly virus,” no one has yet died from it, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO said Friday that the omicron variant has spread to 38 countries, but that to date no deaths had been attributed to the variant, despite what Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has claimed.

The WHO said that a full understanding of the variant’s lethality could still be weeks away, according to The Guardian.

“We’re going to get the answers that everybody out there needs,”  WHO Emergencies Director Michael Ryan said.

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Although the report of no deaths is good news, the WHO said it has the potential to cause more than half of Europe’s COVID cases this winter.

The variant could also impact the globe by throttling economic recovery, International Monetary Fund chief, Kristalina Georgieva, said.

“Even before the arrival of this new variant, we were concerned that the recovery, while it continues, is losing somewhat momentum. A new variant that may spread very rapidly can dent confidence,” she explained.

A preliminary study from South Africa, where the variant was first reported last month, said researchers believe it could be three times more likely than other strains of the virus to cause reinfections.

Is all this panic overblown?

One issue that will broaden understanding of the variant will be its impact on a diverse population in terms of age and pre-existing conditions, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, according to CNBC.

Van Kerkhove indicated the initial reports were clustered in a population of university students.

“There was initial reports that it tended to be more mild, but it’s really too soon,” Van Kerkhove said. “Everybody who is infected with SARS-CoV-2 regardless of what variant will always start out with a mild disease. And so maybe it will stop there with mild, some people are asymptomatic of course, but it may stop with mild disease or it may take some time.”

Ryan stated previous variants also appeared mild at the outset.

“It takes time, unfortunately,” Ryan said. “We saw that as well in previous waves of this pandemic. When the incidence rate goes up, it takes a week or two for that to result in hospital admissions and deaths.”

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Van Kerkhove also suggested that the people infected with omicron might have been more healthy than the general population.

“If you’re traveling, you’re not sick, or you shouldn’t be traveling if you’re sick,” Van Kerkhove said. “So there’s a bias in terms of what is being detected at the moment, but that will change over time.”

As the world waits, Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, said the virus could follow a familiar path if it becomes more transmissible while also becoming less deadly, according to AzFamily.com.

“If omicron is less lethal, has a softer clinical presentation, is more transmissible and is still covered by the vaccines, you could have omicron take over from delta, outcompete delta out in the world and in the United States and have it result in less deaths,” Humble explained.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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