- Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

'It Won't Be Like This Forever': Bill Gates Hints Pandemic May End in 2022

© AFP 2022 / JEFF PACHOUDUS Microsoft founder, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, poses for a picture on October 9, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France, during the funding conference of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
US Microsoft founder, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, poses for a picture on October 9, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France, during the funding conference of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
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In a series of tweets, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates gave his assessment of the coronavirus pandemic, offering the somber reality that, as the Omicron variant spreads, the next few months could be difficult and dangerous. Nonetheless, he believes that the pandemic could be entering its final year.
Over the past two years, Bill Gates has become an influential voice in the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, however, in the years before the pandemic, he stressed how unprepared the world was for a global health crisis of this magnitude.
Gates has no medical training and is not an epidemiologist but he did establish the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator in 2020 and, through his foundation, has committed over $1.75 billion to help fight COVID. He also frequently talks with top US immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to the president.
Through his philanthropic endeavours and fame, Gates has had access to the best and brightest minds in tackling the pandemic, and the Omicron variant has him concerned. In a series of tweets, Gates provided his best insights into how the coming days, months, and year could unfold.
Omicron was first reported to the World Health Organisation on November 24th, and has since become the dominant strain in less than a month. Compared to Omicron, the Delta variant proved more transmissible than the Alpha variant which it replaced at the time.
Gates' warning is one of simple statistics and the reality is that Omicron has only been studied for a short time. While there is hope that Omicron is less deadly than the Delta variant, it needs to be remembered that the Delta variant was both more transmissible and deadly than the Alpha strain which it replaced.
The transmission of Omicron is reportedly exponential - if Omicron spreads twice as easily as the Delta variant but is half as deadly, it would still kill more people, according to reports.
Early indicators suggest that individuals who have been vaccinated are still less likely to be infected with the Omicron variant and are less likely to have severe symptoms. Individuals who have received booster shots have shown better resilience.
While Gates believes the next few months could be bleak, he offers optimism for 2022, underscoring that Omicron's ability to move "quickly" would suggest that the latest wave would "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 wrote.

"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".
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