Bill Gates is not an immunologist, but he is a pretty smart guy — and an eternal optimist.
The creator of Microsoft, who has since become a philanthropist with his billions of dollars battling the scourge of malaria in Africa, says once the Omicron variant sweeps across the world and fades, we could be in the clear.
“As countries experience their Omicron wave health systems will be challenged. Most of the severe cases will be unvaccinated people. Once Omicron goes through a country then the rest of the year should see far fewer cases so Covid can be treated more like seasonal flu,” Gates wrote on Tuesday during a Twitter Q&A with Devi Sridhar, chairman of global public health at the University of Edinburgh.
As countries experience their Omicron wave health systems will be challenged. Most of the severe cases will be unvaccinated people. Once Omicron goes through a country then the rest of the year should see far fewer cases so Covid can be treated more like seasonal flu.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) January 11, 2022
Gates also predicted that the virulent spread of the more communicable Omicron variant “will create a lot of immunity, at least for the next year.” That’s significant because if enough people either contract the virus or get vaccinated, thus creating antibodies, the circulation of a virus could slow long enough to end the pandemic.
Omicron has almost completely taken over from the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
“Health officials reported Tuesday morning that Omicron now accounts for an estimated 98 percent of COVID cases in the U.S., up from 95 percent last week, and meaning that nearly all cases in the U.S. are of the strain that was only discovered months ago,” The Daily Mail reported on Tuesday.
The U.K. paper said there was also good news, noting that “signs are pointing to the variant slowly losing steam and peaking in the next few weeks, if other former hotspots around the world are any indication.”
Over the past week, the U.S. has averaged 767,000 new cases per day — the most since the pandemic hit in February 2020. Before Omicron arrived, the average was just more than 235,000 cases, meaning cases have tripled, The Mail reported.
Cases rose by 27% since January 3, and deaths this week rose by 12% over the same period, according to a Daily Mail analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.
Omicron took over in just a matter of weeks. At the beginning of December, the variant accounted for less than 1% of sequenced cases, with Delta making up 99% of them. By the week ending on Christmas Day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the variant to be 58.6% of all new cases.
Amid a growing body of evidence that the new variant of the virus appears to be milder than the Delta strain, one scientist in the United Kingdom went so far as to call Omicron “a ray of light” in the two-year battle against the pandemic.
“The thing that might happen in the future is you may see the emergence of a new variant that is less severe, and ultimately, in the long term, what happens is Covid becomes endemic and you have a less severe version. It’s very similar to the common cold that we’ve lived with for many years,” Dr. Mike Tildesley told Times Radio on Saturday, according to The Economic Times.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to [email protected].
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