Washington: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said has canceled most of his holiday plans because of the threat of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of COVID-19. The billionaire cautioned that the variant will “soon be in every country in the world’.
“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 this week.
Omicron cases are rising rapidly across countries, with the variant becoming the dominant strain of coronavirus in the United States, the country with the highest number of Covid cases in the world.
“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,” Bill Gates said in another tweet in the thread.
“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.”
President Joe Biden said the country was “prepared” to fight it.
The assessment of Omicron being more contagious than Delta raises concern as the latter is considered to have triggered the devastating second wave of the pandemic in India, between April and June this year.
On December 11, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also noted that there is considerable evidence that suggests Omicron is “spreading significantly faster” than the Delta variant.