INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Omicron is sweeping across the United States like wildfire.
However, total deaths as result of an omicron infection pale in comparison to those from delta.
The rapid spread may mean “game over” for COVID-19 by playing an essential role in what doctors and scientists have been striving for since the beginning: herd immunity.
Herd immunity is characterized as “when a large portion of the community (the herd) becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of the disease from person to person unlikely. As a result, the whole community becomes protected — not just those who are immune.”
Plus, scientists are saying some countries in the world are getting closer to it. This may be as a direct result of omicron’s wave. Omicron may infect 70 times faster than delta, but illness is much less severe.
News 8 spoke with Dr. Paul Driscoll at Franciscan Health. He says a pattern has emerged over the course of the pandemic. What happens in these countries is sometimes a foreshadowing of what’s to come in the United States.
Herd immunity “is certainly possible,” Driscoll said. “Israel has been a couple months ahead of us. The United Kingdom has been a few weeks to a month ahead of us, and we’ve seen similar patterns in both places. If it causes less severe disease, then it could help us get closer to herd immunity.”
Israel’s omicron spike followed by its recent sharp decline may finally bring the coronavirus’ reign to an end. If this same link between Israel and the United States upholds as it has throughout the pandemic, Driscoll says, the nation may be close behind.