Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Tuesday raised concerns about the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
Gates, in a series of tweets, warned against the recent surge of cases, adding that he had cancelled most of his holiday plans.
“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 canceled most of my holiday plans,” Gates tweeted.
*Omicron is spreading faster than any virus in history. It will soon be in every country in the world,” he wrote.
According to Gates, one of the biggest questions regarding the variant is its severity. However, it is likely to be the worst surge due to the variant’s transmissibility. Gates urged people to take precautions, advocating getting a booster shot.
“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,” Gates tweeted.
“In the meantime, we all have to look out for each other, especially the most vulnerable, whether they live down the street or in another country. That means wearing masks, avoiding big indoor gatherings, and getting vaccinated. Getting a booster gives the best protection,” he wrote.
“There will be more breakthrough cases in people who are vx’d [vaxxed], 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,” he wrote.
However, according to Gates, with the right steps taken, the pandemic can be over in 2022.
“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 added.
“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,” he further added.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sounded a similar warning earlier this week.
“There is now consistent evidence that Omicron is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant,” Ghebreyesus said at a briefing for Geneva-based journalists at the organisation’s new headquarters building.
“And it is more likely that people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 could be infected or reinfected,” he further added.
The WHO chief also urged people to rethink their holiday plans and avoid increased social mixing.
“But an event cancelled is better than a life cancelled,” he had said.