Bill Gates Says Omicron Could be the Worst Part of the Pandemic

But it could be over in 2022, if we take the right steps.
Ameya Paleja
Reuters

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, thinks that we could be entering the worst part of the pandemic as the threat of COVID due to the Omicron variant looms large over yet another holiday season.

In a series of tweets, the entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist said that his close friends have tested positive for the virus and he has canceled most of his plans for the upcoming holidays and urged others also to take it seriously till we know more about the virus variant.

Gates pointed to the fact that the disease's severity due to Omicron is not yet known but even if it were half as severe as Delta, given its highly infectious nature, the U.S. would still see the worst surge of the pandemic. 

According to a CNN report, COVID-19 cases in the U.S. were on the rise with the country seeing an average of 148,000 cases a day in the last week, a number 23 percent higher than the week earlier. Close to 70,000 people were in hospitals due to the disease that also claimed an average of 1,324 lives a day in the last week. 

Gates also reiterated that the vaccines were designed to prevent people from getting seriously ill and dying from the disease, something they were doing well. Infections in people who are vaccinated were on the rise and although concerning, Gates attributed this to two factors, one how many people were vaccinated and also how quickly the variant was spreading. 

Gates also sought relief in the rapid spread of the variant that has already become dominant among infections in the U.S.

In a previous piece for CNN, Gates had called COVID-19 a largely preventable disease but one that continued to spread as the world's richer countries were buying up vaccine shots for booster doses. 

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