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Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicts huge spread of Omicron
Posted on December 23, 2021
New Delhi : – Institute of Health Metrology and Evaluation (IHME) forecast for the global variant of covid 19 Omicron. (IHME), an independent center for global health research at the University of Washington, published a research report on Omicron, a variant of SARS-CoV-2.
Comparing the Omicron variant to the Delta variant, IHME research indicates that the Omicron is more transmissible and that with 40-60% immune escape, it combines to lead to a rapid increase in the number of reported cases. . A much larger fraction of infections are symptomatic – probably 40% for Delta and earlier variants 90-95% for Omicron.
However, he also shared that based on the best available data, the infection-hospitalization rate is considerably lower (note that the infection-hospitalization rate is not the hospitalization rate), probably 90- 96% lower than that of Delta. The death rate from infection is considerably lower, probably 97-99% lower than Delta’s.
Research also predicts that around 3 billion infections will occur over the next 2 months. This is as many infections as those observed during the first 2 years of the pandemic. The peak of transmission is expected to be in mid-January with more than 35 million infections worldwide per day, nearly three times the peak of the Delta wave in April. Given the immune breakout and transmissibility, Omicron will eventually reach all countries soon, shares the IHME research report. Even countries with strict border controls like New Zealand based on Delta’s experience are likely to eventually see outbreaks of Omicron in any country, including China, that we anticipate in the future. . Infections detected globally will reach 3 times the previous peaks. In the United States, the peak will be over 400,000 per day.
IHME analysis shows that increasing mask use to 80% will have a huge effect on cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Faster and more extensive administration of third doses of vaccine will also reduce the burden of hospitalizations and deaths. People who have not been vaccinated and never infected are most at risk. Vaccinating unvaccinated people is a powerful way to reduce personal risk.
Given the rapid spread and increase of Omicron and the asymptomatic high fraction combined with much lower rates of infection-hospitalization and infection-related mortality, employers and schools will need to re-evaluate their approach to testing and of the quarantine. In the future, tracking hospitalizations rather than reported cases will be a more relevant measure for local action than counting cases.
There is enormous uncertainty especially over the severity of the Omicron which has a critical impact on predictions of hospital admissions and deaths. More data in the next 3-4 weeks may change the scenario.