Does the latest Omicron data from the UK suggest an end to the pandemic?

I will let you judge for yourself:

Other sources suggest that deaths from Omicron (rather than with Omicron) currently stand at 12, rather than 49.

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OMGicron appears to primarily infect the upper respiratory tract (bronchi) rather than lung tissue, resulting in far less trashed lung tissue & death. As the severity of illness decreases relative to (exploding) case volume, tracking true COVID-related deaths becomes more problematic (and therefore less relevant). Given the advanced age at death for most patients, it’s almost impossible to judge whether a death was caused by COVID, “nudged” by COVID, or incidental to COVID.

In a sick way, this is a mixed blessing. Risk of death going way down is awesome, but attributing unrelated deaths in the high volume of COVID patients to the virus itself will continue, and the media will continue their feeding frenzy.

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They really won’t able to with this data set- even if deaths subsequently rise to 100 from their current level of 50 (a not unrealistic expectation given delays between infection and fatality- and given that ventilator requirements are massively reduced with this data set), they simply won’t be able to hide, given these figures, that deaths from or with Omicron in the UK, are roughly 5% the level seen with previous variants.

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This is an important point, and not always called out.

Interestingly, we have six COVID-related patients in our Critical Care unit right now, most on mechanical ventilation. None are currently COVID-positive - they’ve all cleared the virus. So they contracted COVID a while ago.

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ICU capacity is a finite number. And a rate limiter. Since Lombardy, that’s been the main number I’ve cared about.

Number of infections x rate of severe illness (ie. virulence) = numbers in ICU.

So the key will be the effective virulence. Given the case numbers we are seeing now, and the known lag btw infection to hospitalized to ICU, we should know quite a lot more in the next 2 weeks.

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Lots of patients are in critical care for weeks / months before discharge or death. We may see some movement in the next two weeks, but I fear it will be more gradual than that.

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Full Headline- South Africa jubilant as Omicron wave subsides rapidly with minimal Covid hospital admissions and Delta killed off: ‘Expect the same in other countries’

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That is certainly true. I think our views and expectations – a mental model in which Covid leads fairly rapidly to death, in a matter of a week or two – is based on what we saw in early 2020, in Europe and the US, with the elderly dying quickly, the care homes becoming death traps. What we see more now are folks dying of the effects respiratory impairments, long after they cleared the disease. The death comes from a chain of events. My cousin probably died of a blood clot related to a broken hip caused by a fall while attempting to walk with impaired breathing.

The hopeful part of the picture is that if Omicron primarily has upper respiratory symptoms, and not bronchial and pulmonary, then the long risk of long-term issues is much reduced. But is Omicron inherently different in this regard, or is it different because it’s hitting healthier people who already have more resistance, acquired one way or another. As you say, it may be too earlier to tell, even if the South African numbers seem like very good news.

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The next one will get our attention this time.

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Agreed. I was referring to seeing a wave (if it is to happen) in about 2 weeks. But for sure, decanting people out of the ICUs on the other end of it will take much longer.

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