After the variant was first detected in South Africa last month, the number of cases has skyrocketed on a global scale. The WHO has since declared that the Omicron variant has spread faster than any other strain of the coronavirus before.
Even more concerning is what this could mean for social gatherings between family and friends as we lead up to holiday festivities in the following days. As of today, in the UK, if you are to become infected with the virus, you would be missing out on Christmas gatherings as there is a mandatory ten-day self-isolation period upon exposure.
Recently, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that more than 200,000 peoplein the UK would become infected with the highly-mutated strain by the end of the month. This would mean that a substantial amount of Brits will be spending the holiday season alone, despite the initial downplay of the newest strain. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained:
Surely, we have learned by now that we underestimate this virus at our peril. Even if Omicron does cause less severe disease, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems.
The order matters. Giving boosters to groups at low risk of severe disease or death simply endangers the lives of those at high risk who are still waiting for their primary doses because of supply constraints.
Measures taken to stop the spread of the virus
As a result of the massive influx in cases in the UK right now, harsher social distancing rules have been put in place to prevent further mass contamination. Covid passes are now required to enter venues and clubs, face-covering has become mandatory in public spaces and even travel restrictions for Brits have been imposed.