Virologist explains reduced potency of Omicron infections

PHOTO: Dr Yong Poovorawan, Thailand's top virologist, discusses Omicron infections. (via Wikimedia Kkamols)

A leading virologist and health expert in Thailand has laid out his beliefs on Omicron’s lack of potency and why it’s a step in the right direction. Dr Yong Poovorawan is the chief of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University. He has served as a top advisor on Covid-19 in Thailand since the pandemic began in early 2020. Now he’s taken to Facebook to outline the details of how the Omicron infections result in weaker symptoms than previous variants.

With the Omicron variant spreading rapidly, the number of daily infections has surged worldwide, but the death rate has fallen in the majority of places. Dr Yong pointed to data in Denmark that recorded that, during the Alpha variant, the country had about 3,300 infections and 30 deaths on average each day. A year later, average daily infections are up to 41,000 but deaths have fallen by more than half to just 12 on average per day.

Dr Yong’s post on Facebook said that studies have shown that Omicron infections are far less potent than the Delta variant. Furthermore, the majority of adults and even elderly people over 60 have been vaccinated by now. Over 9 billion Covid vaccines have now been administered worldwide. Dr Yong believes that billions of people have achieved immunity which further lowers the severity of the Covid infections people experience.

He did note that some adults were experiencing stronger symptoms, depending on how old they are. But children, who are getting infected with Omicron more than they did with other variants, are experiencing mild flu-like symptoms. Some do not experience any symptoms at all. And one dangerous symptom with lasting effects – lung infections – is minimised with the Omicron variant since the virus tends to infect the upper respiratory tract, not the lungs.

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SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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