The SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron is leading to the end of the worldwide pandemic, Denmark’s chief epidemiologist predicted, meaning “we will have our normal lives back in two months.”
Tyra Grove Krause said on Danish TV 2 that a new study from Denmark’s State Serum Institute found that the risk of winding up in the hospital with Omicron is half that seen with the previous Delta variant. She also said that like the emergence of the variant in South Africa, cases will rise, then quickly fall.
“I think we will have that in the next two months, and then I hope the infection will start to subside and we get our normal lives back,” she said on Monday, according to the Daily Mail.
“Omicron will peak at the end of January, and in February we will see declining infection pressure and a decreasing pressure on the health care system,” she said. “But we have to make an effort in January, because it will be hard to get through.”
And she said that once Omicron becomes the dominant strain of the virus, the world will be better off. “Omicron is here to stay, and it will provide some massive spread of infection in the coming month[s]. When it’s over, we’re in a better place than we were before,” the study said.
Krause said that the highly communicable Omicron variant appears to be milder, which means more people will catch it, have less serious symptoms — and then be immune. That could begin to move the world toward herd immunity.
Her comments mirror those of top U.S. immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, who appeared Sunday on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”
“One of the things that we hope for, George, is that this thing will peak after a period of a few weeks and turn around. We have seen that happen in South Africa, where they had a major surge, but, as quickly as the surge went up, it turned around,” Fauci said.
“But what about the evidence that Omicron leads to less serious infection, less serious illness?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Well, there’s accumulating evidence, George, that that is the case. We first got inkling of that in South Africa. When one looked at the relationship and the ratio between hospitalizations and cases, it was lower, the duration of hospital stay was lower, the requirements for oxygen was lower. We’re seeing a bit of that, not as pronounced, in the U.K., but certainly that trend. And if you look here at the United States, we don’t want to get complacent at all, and you don’t want to jump to a positive conclusion, because it’s still early,” Fauci said.
Scientists at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban last month conducted a small study that found people infected with Omicron — and especially those who have been fully vaccinated — developed a higher immunity to Delta.
“The research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, involved 15 vaccinated and unvaccinated Omicron patients in South Africa, according to Bloomberg News, which noted that two were excluded because they didn’t detectably neutralize Omicron,” the New York Post reported. “The authors, led by Alex Sigal and Khadija Khan, found that while the neutralization of Omicron increased 14-fold over 14 days after the enrollment, there also was a 4.4-fold increase in neutralization of the Delta variant.”
“The increase in Delta variant neutralization in individuals infected with Omicron may result in decreased ability of Delta to re-infect those individuals,” the authors said, adding that the findings are “consistent with Omicron displacing the Delta variant, since it can elicit immunity which neutralizes making re-infection with Delta less likely.”
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].