Prof Goossens sees three parameters that play a role when evaluating the risks attached to omicron: “its contagious nature - it is more contagious than the prevalent delta variant -, secondly the degree to which it makes people ill and mortality rates”.
Prof Goossens believes the degree to which it makes people ill doesn’t seem to be a major problem but adds that a variant that is 50% more contagious is more dangerous than a variant that is 50% more deadly because it has a greater impact in actual numbers”.
A third factor is omicron’s ability to sidestep existing immunity. Prof Goossens sees disturbing data from South Africa and the UK.
He believes it’s too early to say that omicron will now change everything: “new clinical data needs to be collected and examined” he says.