Scientists believe ultra-infectious strain may kill 100 TIMES fewer people than Delta (and mortality rates were ALREADY similar to influenza before the variant emerged)
- Researchers expect the ultra-infectious variant to kill between 97 and 99 percent fewer people than Delta;
- U.K. advisers estimate the infection-fatality rate (IFR) stood at 0.25 percent before Omicron emerged;
- Others suggested it could be 0.1 percent — similar to flu— compared to 1 percent before the vaccine rollout;
- But experts queried 99 percent estimate, insisting it does not look plausible and there is too much uncertainty.
Omicron could be even less deadly than flu, scientists believe in a boost to hopes that the worst of the pandemic is over. Some experts have always maintained that the coronavirus would eventually morph into a seasonal cold-like virus as the world develops immunity through vaccines and natural infection. But the emergence of the highly-mutated Omicron variant appears to have sped the process up. One analysis shows COVID killed one in 33 people who tested positive at the peak of the devastating second wave last January, compared to just one in 670 now. But experts believe the figure could be even lower because of Omicron. The case fatality rate — the proportion of confirmed infections that end in death — for seasonal influenza is 0.1, the equivalent of one in 1,000.
One former Government adviser Sunday said if the trend continues to drop, then “we should be asking whether we are justified in having any measures we would not bring for a bad flu season.” But other experts say coronavirus is much more transmissible than flu, meaning it will inevitably cause more deaths. Meanwhile, researchers at Washington University modeling the next pandemic stage expect Omicron to kill up to 99 percent fewer people than Delta. In another hint, it could be less deadly than flu.
No accurate infection-fatality rate (IFR), which is always just a fraction of the CFR because it reflects deaths among everyone who catches the virus, has yet been published for Delta. United Kingdom Government advisers estimated the overall figure stood at around 0.25 percent before Omicron burst onto the scene, down from highs of approximately 1.5 percent before the advent of life-saving vaccines. If Omicron is 99 percent less lethal than Delta, it suggests the current IFR could be as low as 0.0025 percent, the equivalent of one in 40,000, although experts say this is unlikely. Instead, the Washington modeling estimates the figure sits in the region of 0.07 percent, meaning approximately one in 1,430 people who get infected will succumb to the illness. Leading researchers estimate flu’s IFR to sit between 0.01 and 0.05 percent but argue comparing rates for the two illnesses is complicated.
Note: Remember, all of our U.S. COVID happenings are seen first in Europe. They always find ways to “jump the pond” to North America.
Does that mean the above numbers in Europe are headed our way?
U.K. Analysis Of Omicron And Where We Stand
Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, an epidemiologist at the University of Wollongong in Australia, reported his “very rough best guess” was that triple-jabbed people were at the same risk from Omicron as they are from the flu. “Add the new medications into the mix, and it gets even more complex,” he added. But scientists today leaped on the estimates, saying it was more proof that the worst days of the pandemic were over and that Britain needs to get back on the path to normality.
Professor Robert Dingwall, a former Joint Committee On Vaccination And Immunization (JCVI) member of, and expert in, sociology at Nottingham Trent University, projects it will be a few weeks until there are definitive Omicron fatality rates. Still, if they are consistent with the findings that it is less severe, “we should be asking whether we are justified in having any measures we would not bring for a bad flu season.”
He said: “If we would not have brought in the measures in November 2019, why are we doing it now? What’s the specific justification for doing it? If the severity of Covid infection is falling away to the point that it is comparable with flu, then we really shouldn’t have exceptional levels of intervention.”
There would be no justification in having “any restriction we didn’t previously have’ if the modeling is confirmed in the coming weeks,” Professor Dingwall said. However, he noted that if the U.K. has two respiratory viruses in the population which are capable of producing significant levels of hospitalization, the NHS may need more funding to deal with both COVID and flu to increase its capacity.
Washington University experts who claimed that Omicron would cause 97 to 99 percent fewer deaths than Delta — based on the case and death data — admit their forecasts were more “optimistic” than forecasts used by U.K. Government scientists. The Prime Minister was warned that daily COVID deaths in Britain could breach 6,000 a day this winter under the worst-case scenario of Omicron’s rapid spread. But the doomsday projection, conducted by one of the modeling sub-groups, was branded ”fictitious.”
Daily coronavirus fatalities maxed out at slightly less than 1,400 during the depths of the second wave before ministers embarked on a huge vaccination blitz. And studies show two doses of the current crop of jabs still drastically cut the risk of patients becoming severely ill if they catch the virus, even if they offer little protection against falling ill in the first place.
Booster vaccines — already dished out to 34 million people across the U.K., or 60.1 percent of people over-12 — bolster immunity even further, real-world evidence shows. Independent academics have queried the University of Washington team’s estimates, saying that they do not look plausible, and there is still lots of uncertainty around Omicron data.
Let’s Put The “Numbers” To These Infections
It’s tough for everyday people to quickly analyze all the numbers, percentages, projections in the context of medical jargon. But these numbers are significant. Why? Because the actual numbers of REAL doctors who treat patients and conduct laboratory testing and combine their first-hand findings of both give us analyses that “experts” like Dr. Fauci and others CANNOT provide. Their advice is almost always second-handed.
Have you ever wondered how many COVID-19 patients Dr. Fauci has personally treated? The answer is simple: ZERO. Yet he spouts 24/7 “facts” about everything to do with COVID-19 like he spent all night in a laboratory after spending all day treating COVID patients on their death beds!
All of that to say this: the REAL numbers and statistics are CRITICAL for you to understand. Let’s put some more of them together.
The researchers did not offer an actual estimate for the IFR of Omicron — which scientists still barely understand, given that it was only detected for the first time in mid-November. The team said: “Based on the available data, we expect the infection-fatality rate will be 97-99 percent lower than for Delta. Huge numbers of infections and moderate numbers of hospitalizations may still translate into a peak of reported (global) daily deaths over 9,000 in early February.”
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent global health research center at the University of Washington. The IHME team also didn’t offer an estimated IFR for Delta, which first cropped up in India before hitting the U.K. towards the end of spring. Studies showed it was twice as deadly as the original virus, which was thought to have an IFR of around 1.4 percent. But even using that figure would equate to an IFR of approximately 0.03 percent if Omicron was 97 to 99 percent less lethal, making it similar to flu. Their estimates for Omicron — as the strain by January will cause almost every case — correspond to an IFR of around 0.07 percent, according to Professor McConway. This is based on deaths peaking at about 330 per day in Britain.
If Delta caused 97 to 99 percent more deaths than this 0.07 IFR for Omicron, it would have an IFR of up to seven percent, however, highlighting just how difficult it is to nail down an estimate.
Professor Kevin McConway, a statistician at the Open University, suggested IFR of as low as 0.0025 percent was “really, really tiny.” That estimate is based on the rolling IFR, estimated by Cambridge University academics, skewed downwards because of the build-up of natural immunity.
The Washington University experts acknowledge there is uncertainty in their projections, and Professor McConway noted as he said they might have “gotten their numbers wrong somewhere.” But he said the actual projection — of up to 330 deaths per day — was plausible.
IHME calculated IFR based on COVID “seroprevalence data” by age and COVID death figures. (“seroprevalence” is the proportion of a population whose blood serum tests positive for a given pathogen, such as COVID-19)
Real-time IFR can vary drastically in every nation based on previous immunity, the prevalence of obesity and other medical conditions, and the population age structure. Experts also say it is hard to track overall IFR because it is impossible to accurately tell how many people have been infected because not everyone gets tested when they are ill. But they believe the Covid IFR is dropping due to medical interventions.
Dr. Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at Reading University, said that he believes the future of COVID-19 can be “kept in check” with jabs, insisting there was “no question” that vaccines have drastically changed the course of the pandemic. He added: “The immunity we are building up appears to be suppressing new variants from causing severe disease.”
But he warned it was not “inevitable” that the virus would eventually morph into one that merely causes symptoms of the common cold.
This analysis suggests the COVID fatality rate fell to as low as 0.14 percent on December 28 — its lowest ever total — after dropping every day since November 18. The rate is calculated by comparing average death numbers to average-case numbers from two weeks earlier, roughly the amount of time it takes for the disease to take hold, experts say. It means the case-fatality rate was already dropping before the strain truly kicked off in Britain in mid-December, showing vaccines have played an enormous role in thwarting the virus.
But the figure is also skewed slightly by increased levels of testing, with the number of swabs being carried out having shot up by around 245 percent over the past year. Testing in Britain reached its highest ever level in the week leading up to Christmas this year, before peaking on January 4 at more than two million. And data show that cases were predominantly occurring in people aged under-50, who have always been less at risk of dying from the virus. Rates are now only going up in over-60s in London, signaling what may come for the rest of the country.
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, said the COVID fatality rate has been falling in recent weeks in the U.K… Still, some of this “is probably down to delayed reporting of deaths over Christmas.” He said the “fatality rate for Omicron does seem to be lower than we have seen with previous variants and is probably now below 0.2 percent,” similar to the rate for flu.
But nowhere near as many people are tested for the flu compared to COVID, which has seen more than two million Brits get themselves swabbed each day.
Here’s where Americans find themselves so confused: we hear conflicting stories every day from different “experts” who, we are told, are the best sources of truthful COVID information. But they all change their stories — many times to the exact opposite of their previous “expert” instructions given to us!
The puzzle is that Americans are forced to make “daily” decisions based on the “daily” latest information these experts give to us. And some of our choices are life-and-death. To that end, how are we supposed to know which “experts” to believe and trust?
No, we certainly do not have to believe ANY of them. But that creates a Pandora’s box of issues in that we MUST take action for ourselves and our families. Most Americans have been conditioned to make such choices armed with facts throughout life. And we know where that puts us today!
I feel the mass of that 900-pound gorilla in our living rooms is so consuming because of the politicization of all things COVID-related. Sadly, instead of President Biden leading us by giving us trustworthy answers to our problems and fixes for our dilemmas, he isn’t leading us at all. He is leading some people, but not us. He walks behind us as he whips us and verbally diminishes us for not benignly just falling in line with his political mantra that we are expected to accept as our “medical guidelines.”
Do you believe this president believes he is accurate with all the things he tells Americans? Not only do I believe that. I’m confident that he believes we believe him! And, of course, anyone who verbally disagrees with him is immediately branded as anti-VAXX, MAGA supporter, or, even worse, a Republican! (which I’m NOT)
We can get honest answers. But doing so requires diligence and patience. Seldom do these experts who control the narrative about COVID give us raw facts. Worse than that is even when they KNOW the truth, they brand the truths and those who present them in public as conspiracy theories and those who spread them, conspirators.
Truth matters, doesn’t it? So let’s dig until we find it…find it ALL!