The Omicron Question

Tomas Pueyo in Uncharted Territories:

There’s been a lot of great coverage of Omicron so far, but with the data we have, we can’t change our behavior at all. It’s not actionable. We’re missing one fundamental piece of information. It’s the Omicron question. This article will look at what we know so far to zero in on that big question.

There are two numbers that matter in epidemiology: the transmission rate and the fatality rate. The transmission rate tells you how many people are likely going to catch a virus, and how hard it will be to fight it. Once you catch it, the fatality rate tells you how bad it will be.

There’s an additional factor that matters: The Scary Virus Paradox. There’s an interaction between these two: a virus with high transmission rates but low fatality rates might end up killing more people than if the virus has higher fatality rates.

More here.