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Is omicron the end to the pandemic?

Less than two weeks after the new coronavirus variant was first detected in South Africa,...
Less than two weeks after the new coronavirus variant was first detected in South Africa, Omicron has become the dominant strain in that country.
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 9:30 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With over 300 million confirmed COVID cases and nearly six million COVID-related deaths globally, it may feel like there will never be an end to this pandemic. However, data from a new study hints that omicron may be a signal that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over as the virus weakens.

The recent study conducted by the Steve Biko Academic Hospital Complex in South Africa found that within the small group it observed with omicron there were lower death rates and lower rates of admission to the ICU compared to previous variants.

Sedgwick County Health Officer Dr. Garold Minns said he sees the possibility if the virus spreads rapidly and doesn’t lead to a significant number of deaths.

“Maybe enough of the population will get it, and then they’ll get immunity from getting it and the virus will kind of peter out,” Minns said.

He said the data found from in South Africa study closely resembles that of the cases we have in Kansas.

“We haven’t seen omicron putting that many fewer people in the ICU, but obviously, we’ve only had it here in Kansas for a few weeks. So, we’ll be patient, make more observations and see if what South Africa observes we also observe.”

However, Dr. Minns said we should be cautious to jump to conclusions, as these studies are in their early stages.

“This is speculation on early data from South Africa, but as you know, this virus has fooled us a number of times. A number of times we thought the rate was going way down only to raise its ugly head once again.”

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