FACT FINDERS: Is omicron really milder than delta?

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 6:50 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Initial data from South Africa suggests the omicron variant of COVID-19 may be milder than delta.

It also shows omicron has overtaken delta as the dominant variant. If that holds true in the U.S., could omicron essentially wipe out a deadlier version of the virus?

Arizona State’s Dr. Joshua LaBaer said if it really turns out that omicron causes less severe illness, he believes that would be better than delta.

However, LaBaer said he’s not sold on the idea that omicron is milder.

”Many of the omicron cases observed so far have been in younger people or in people who are already vaccinated and those populations would tend to have milder cases and we just don’t have enough data from the broader range,” he said. “So, we can’t really conclude about the severity of illness but we do know that it looks like it does evade the immune system.”

If omicron proves to be milder, LaBaer says while we would rather have that circulating than delta, it could still wreak havoc on older people.

He said a less severe, but highly transmissible virus, is still very dangerous.

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