Note: Charts current as of date above; text updated on January 6, 2021.
Are we in for a rough ride? The global picture so far doesn’t suggest so, but let that not deceive you as Omicron has progressed unequally so far. But even if Omicron turns out less severe, let this episode of heightened worry serve as a wake-up call: the world remains wholly underprepared against a downside scenario of a more transmissible and a more lethal variant.
The above chart shows the steep rise in confirmed cases in high-income countries (HICs) but exactly the opposite pattern in the upper- and lower-middle income countries (UMICs and LMICs) – as of when this post was last updated. Given Omicron, it’s only a matter of time before cases will start rising everywhere.
Conversely, as the chart below shows, fatalities have risen considerably in high-income countries, and this is being offset by lower mortality in upper- and lower-middle-income countries. Again this is unlikely to persist.