It Will Be Weeks to Understand Variant Omicron
To see the headlines you would think we know a lot about Omicron. Terrifying “possibles” as the art of the click. But key things really must happen. This is simplified to keep this short.
First, they need real blood samples from Omicron patients. How do you find those? “Sequence” the COVID people have. Get a bunch of those Omicron samples. There will be labs in very different locations. Those samples that pass all that then need to be “vaccinated”. Against each of the available vaccines. Wait to see what happens, then test the results. All these things take time. Then write it up for pre-peer review distribution. Then maybe we get to see what’s up here.
At about that time vaccine makers get the data. If needed mRNA can spin up and make a “variant” booster relatively fast. If that’s not needed, they just keep looking.
I think only real-world experience will tell us how Omicron competes with Delta. That’s months away.
Because we don’t know, and yet we still struggle with Delta, it makes perfect sense to keep our guard up in all the available ways short of locking down everyone. For most of us, that’s just not much of a change. For those that resist public health tools like masks and vaccines, this comes at their peril, new variant or not.