Early Warning on Omicron Variant Is Invaluable

Zeynep Tufekci: “But an early warning on what? Ah, that is the beauty of it. The earlier the warning, the less we know. I’ve done my best to keep up on all the information being shared by scientists on this (amazing! so much open science!) and my current conclusion is that everything is on the table, including that this just fizzles out or turns out to be a catastrophe.”

“There are three open questions: transmissibility, immune evasion, disease course in infected people.”

“Of the three, I think some level of immune evasion in terms of antibodies is the clearest prediction: this looks like it could cause more breakthrough infections in vaccinated or previously-infected people. But that is not, by itself, a catastrophe if the virus doesn’t make people very sick, or if it doesn’t transmit well. Both are still unknown, and all the possibilities are more or less on the table.”

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