South Carolina – As soon as the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus was discovered two weeks ago, many countries started closing the borders for travelers and enforced additional pandemic measures.
Although governments defend their decisions in the name of precaution, WHO director and many health experts warned that this is nothing but a pure panic since no details are known for the new variant.
However, the initial results of the very first researches show very easy and fast transmission of the variant, but the symptoms are very mild and this is something that is very positive or at least that’s some health experts think, including DHEC Director Dr. Brannon Traxler.
According to Traxler, the Omicron variant might help the Covid-19 disease become endemic rather than pandemic.
“I think it’s fair to say that this virus, or this disease is going to become somewhat endemic,” she said last week.
Moving from pandemic to endemic means that the virus will stay probably forever, but it will be controllable and predictable in some specific areas.
“But what that looks like and how severe it is, and therefore how much we have to adapt our lifestyles to protect ourselves against it remains to be seen, and will in large part be determined by people’s willingness to get vaccinated and do other protective measures when necessary.”
So far, scientists found 50 mutations on the spike protein in the Omicron variant resulting WHO to name the mutation a “Variant of Concern” just days after it was discovered. For comparison, the Delta variant was named a “Variant of Concern” months after it was discovered.
“These mutations sometimes cause a virus to be more transmissible or a virus to be able to evade treatments or vaccines, however all variants can still be limited by going back to the basics,” Dr. Traxler said.
Here comes the fact that South Carolina struggles with the vaccination rate and Traxler is worried because that could threaten a more severe “endemic” in the future.
“There is always the potential in scenarios whenever there is a lot of spread of a virus, an RNA virus like this going on still, that it can mutate and become more dangerous,” she said. “There could at any time be other variants that could also partially or, worst-case, fully evade the vaccines.”