One week after the US media and its "scientists" rolled out a full-blown panic parade over the Omicron variant, setting the stage for a new round of lockdowns as a result of a strain which nobody knew much about, yet which was conveniently viewed as a greenlight for trillions more in stimmies, the narrative is gradually turning.
First a note out of South African's Medical Research Council discussing the recent development in the Tshwane District, which is the global epicenter of the Omicron Outbreak, and the Gauteng Province Fourth Wave, with the weekly number of cases rising exponentially over several weeks...
... confirms what we pointed out last weekend, namely that while much more tranmissible, the Omicron strain is also far more mild and its rapid propagation across the globe could, in fact, be a blessing in disguise as a far less dangerous, "flu-like" variant promptly becomes the dominant one. This, as a reminder, is also a point subsequently made by JPM's Marko Kolanovic. Here is the conclusion from the SA MRC note:
the first impression on examination of the 166 patients admitted since the Omicron variant made an appearance, together with the snapshot of the clinical profile of 42 patients currently in the COVID wards at the SBAH/TDH complex, is that the majority of hospital admissions are for diagnoses unrelated to COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 positivity is an incidental finding in these patients and is largely driven by hospital policy requiring testing of all patients requiring admission to the hospital.
The exponential increase in the positivity rate in these patients is a reflection of the rapidly increased case rate for Tshwane but does not appear to be associated with a concomitant increase in the rate of admissions for severe COVID (pneumonia) based on the high proportion of patients not requiring supplemental oxygen.
The relatively low number of COVID-19 pneumonia hospitalizations in the general, high care and ICU wards constitutes a very different picture compared to the beginning of previous waves...
For those interested in a more detailed breakdown of the latest South African data, we recommend reading
Okay folks, time for a South Africa update, focused this time on severity of disease.— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) December 4, 2021
First up, the report from hospitals in Tshwane (the district furthest along in Omicron wave) is essential reading, as is thread from @miamalan https://t.co/5GNwrNJHsk
In any event, with almost two weeks since the first appearance of the Omicron variant and with a distinct lack of any evidence that the new strain is more dangerous, or results in a greater number of more acute hospitalizations than the Delta or other variants, the narrative by the "scientific establishment" - which has burned through most if not all of its credibility in the past year by constantly 'moving the goal posts' to serve various political agendas - appears to be changing once again, and earlier today none other than the chief health propaganda shaman of the Biden admin, Anthony Fauci, indicated that "the U.S. was encouraged by reports from South African officals that the rapid spread of omicron hadn’t yet resulted in a spike in hospitalizations in that country, an indication that the strain could be less virulent."
“Though it’s too early to really make any definitive statements about it thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it," Fauci said on Sunday in a CNN interview. He added that more review is needed to confirm that Omicron causes less illness than other variants, such as Delta, “but thus far, the signals are a bit encouraging.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci cautions about making early judgment about Omicron, but says:— The Recount (@therecount) December 5, 2021
“Thus far, though it's too early to really make any definitive statements about it, it does not look like there's a great degree of severity to it.” pic.twitter.com/eHGMmv5PO1
Of course, making a blanket "all clear" determination would have made a mockery of all the fearmongering that was unleashed just last week, and so Fauci cautioned that it was too soon to make any “definitive statements” about the variant and encouraged Americans to get vaccinations and booster shots, adding that “you got to hold judgment until we get more experience."
Fauci’s comments came as the Biden administration reported that Omicron had spread to 16 US states. The new variant’s many mutations suggest that it might not be effectively treated with some Covid-19 therapeutics and that it could evade the immunity provided by current vaccines, CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said on Sunday in an ABC News interview.
Despite the concerns over jab efficacy, Fauci said getting more Americans to take vaccine booster shots will be “really critical in addressing whether or not we’re going to be able to handle this.” As with Delta, boosters will elevate immunity levels to help prevent infections, or at least reduce the severity of illnesses caused by the variant, he said as it becomes apparent that the narrative is now shifting to using Omicron as a talking point for widespread use of booster shots.
“The vaccines that we are distributing now in the United States and throughout the world are directed against the original, ancestral or Wuhan strain,” Fauci told Jake Tapper, who unlike his pal Chris Cuomo, has yet to be fired.
He added that "we feel certain that there will be some degree, and maybe a considerable degree, of protection against the Omicron variant if, in fact, it starts to take hold in a dominant way in this country."
Meanwhile, the Biden admin is suffering from blowback for the very same "xenophobic" policies it recently adopted and which it previously criticized Trump for implementing, after banning visitors from South Africa and seven other African nations on November 26.
Tapper noted that the US hadn’t banned travel from the dozens of other nations where Omicron cases have been confirmed and that UN chief Antonio Guterres referred to restrictions targeting southern African countries as “travel apartheid.” Fauci replied that too little was known about Omicron at the time the ban was imposed.
“That ban was done at a time when we were really in the dark -- we had no idea what was going on... When the ban was put on, it was put to give us time to figure out just what is going on,” Fauci said adding that the decision is being re-evaluated as more data become available so the ban may be lifted in a “reasonable period of time. I mean, we all feel very badly about the hardship that might have put upon not only South Africa, but the other African countries.”
Biden's ban prompted criticism from international officials, with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres last week likening the restrictions to “travel apartheid.” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on countries to maintain “rational, proportional risk-reduction measures.”