It is fair to say that recent Omicron/Delta wave was more scary in its initial stage than it has eventually turned out to be. Indeed, many commentators have argued that we have been lucky. Be that as it may, let this episode of heightened worry serve as a wake-up call. For the world remains underprepared against a downside scenario of a highly transmissible and more lethal variant.
For cases, the recent peak exceeded the all-time peak by a factor of 4.7 for high-income countries (HICs), 2.5 for upper-middle-income countries (UMICs), 1 for lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) and 2.1 for low-income countries (LICs).
For fatalities, the impact of the recent wave has been less severe across country groups compared to previous peaks. Peak mortality stood at 62% of the all-time peak for HICs and 58% for UMICs. The ratio was lower for LMICs and LICs at 35% and 58% respectively.
Meanwhile, the Omicron/Delta wave has started to dissipate as the chart below shows more clearly as it zooms into the shorter period since October.
“The world got lucky with Omicron. It’s unimaginable what would have happened if that highly contagious variant had caused disease as severe as Delta has. We may not be so lucky the next time. The world cannot afford to be so unprepared ever again.”