Omicron: Not To Be Taken Lightly

A cautionary op-ed this morning on the front page of the online Washington Post makes a compelling argument that omicron could have a much worse effect on humanity than most people seem to think. The author, Dr. William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, says that the variant is so new that we don’t yet know what its long-term effects may be. Because of its extreme ease of transmissibility, it’s producing record numbers of cases. Likelihood of new mutations that could be more deadly or more resistant to vaccines is correlated with the numbers of cases. We shouldn’t go into a daze induced by the hope that omicron will quickly pass. It’s “past time,” Dr. Hanage says, for the world to deliver billions more vaccine does throughout the world, to make rapid tests freely available, and to work in other ways he talks about to minimize the virus’s toll.