Omicron is ‘first ray of light’ in Covid pandemic, claims expert

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Omicron is ‘first ray of light’ in Covid pandemic, claims expert
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  • Mike Tildesley

Omicron is “possibly the first ray of light” in the Covid pandemic, an expert has claimed.

Dr Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick, said the Omicron variant could make Covid endemic.

The member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M) said hopefully start to see a shift in the pandemic by spring.

He told Times Radio: “The thing that might happen in the future is you may see the emergence of a new variant that is less severe, and ultimately, in the long term, what happens is Covid becomes endemic and you have a less severe version. It’s very similar to the common cold that we’ve lived with for many years.

“We’re not quite there yet but possibly Omicron is the first ray of light there that suggests that may happen in the longer term. It is, of course, much more transmissible than Delta was, which is concerning, but much less severe.

“Hopefully, as we move more towards the spring and we see the back of Omicron, we can get more inter-relationship of living with Covid as an endemic disease and protecting the vulnerable.

“Any variant that does emerge which is less severe, ultimately, in the longer term, is where we want to be.”

Cases in London “are slowing down”, he said, but scientists need two weeks to see if this continues.

Dr Tildesley added: “Most other parts of the country are about two to three weeks behind where London is in their epidemic profile.

“Particularly concerning is the North East and the North West – if you look at hospital admissions in those two regions they are going up, also the Midlands, where I live, that’s also a little bit concerning, so it is a worry.”

It comes as nearly two thirds of London boroughs have seen Covid rates fall amid hope that the capital’s wave of Omicron infections has peaked.

Covid has hit London hospitals with 10,000 staff a day being recorded absent from work, the NHS revealed.

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