The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 now accounts for nearly every new case of the virus blanketing the U.S., according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The new strain represented 95.4% of sequenced COVID-19 cases during the week ending on New Year’s Day, while the once-dominant Delta variant made up just only 4.6% of sequenced cases, the CDC said.
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 CDC estimated the variant to be 58.6% of all new cases.
While data are still being studied for the fast-moving variant, some researchers say Omicron taking over could be good news.
Scientists at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban recently 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“The research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, involved 15 vaccinated and unvaccinated Omicron patients in South Africa, according to Bloomberg News, which noted that two were excluded because they didn’t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.”
If Omicron can displace Delta to become the main variant, that could be big news because Omicron, while up to 70 times more contagious, seems far less likely to land sufferers in the hospital.
Meanwhile, Denmark’s chief epidemiologist predicted “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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.