Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has urged people to get their vaccinations done quickly to prevent them from getting seriously ill, as he warned that surging Omicron variant cases could usher in “the worst part of the pandemic”.The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading faster than the Delta variant and is causing infections in people already vaccinated or who have recovered from the COVID-19 disease, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
Gates, 66, on Tuesday, said that “I know it’s frustrating to go into another holiday season with COVID looming over us. But it won’t be like this forever. Someday the pandemic will end, and the better we look after each other, the sooner that time will come.” “Just when it seemed like life would return to normal, we could be entering the worst part of the pandemic. Omicron will hit home for all of us. Close friends of mine now have it, and I’ve cancelled most of my holiday plans,” the billionaire philanthropist tweeted.
Gates, whose foundation (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) has been part of the effort to develop and deliver COVID-19 vaccines, has said that getting a booster gives the best protection.”The big unknown is how sick omicron makes you. We need to take it seriously until we know more about it. Even if it’s only half as severe as Delta, it will be the worst surge we have seen so far because it’s so infectious,” he tweeted.
“If there’s good news here, it’s that omicron moves so quickly that once it becomes dominant in a country, the wave there should last less than 3 months. Those few months could be bad, but I still believe if we take the right steps, the pandemic can be over in 2022,” he tweeted.He emphasised on getting vaccinated and said that vaccines are designed to prevent people from getting seriously ill or dying.
“There will be more breakthrough cases in people who are vx’d, which sounds concerning but is purely a factor of how many people are vx’d and how fast this variant is spreading. Vaccines are designed to prevent people from getting seriously ill or dying & are doing that well,” Gates said.
His warnings come at a time when the US is witnessing an astronomical surge in the Omicron variant, with infections jumping to 73 per cent of all US Covid cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers showed nearly a six-fold increase in omicron’s share of infections in only one week.
One death was also reported on Tuesday in Texas.Scientists in Africa first sounded the alarm about Omicron less than a month ago and on November 26 the WHO designated it as a “variant of concern.” The mutant has since shown up in about 90 countries, including in India.
Much about the omicron variant remains unknown, including whether it causes more or less severe illness.The total number of coronavirus cases stand at 276,235,990 and 5,368,843 people have died due to the virus globally, according to the latest data by Johns Hopkins University.