“For Omicron, we have not had any deaths reported, but it is still early in the clinical course of the disease and this may change.” the WHO told The Epoch Times.
When reached for comment by The Epoch Times, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent its report on the Omicron variant in the United States for Dec. 1 through Dec. 8. It shows that there were no documented deaths from Omicron during that period.
The WHO’s latest weekly epidemiological update, on Dec. 7, showed that all 212 Omicron cases documented across 18 European Union (EU) countries were either mild or asymptomatic.
“While South Africa saw an 82 percent increase in hospital admissions due to COVID-19 (from 502 to 912) during the week 28 November–4 December 2021, it is not yet known the proportion of these with the Omicron variant,” the report notes.
Omicron has also been detected in the United States, first in California and later in Colorado, New York, Maryland, Utah, and many other states.
The first U.S. patient with the variant was identified in San Francisco, testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 29 after returning from a trip to South Africa on Nov. 22. However, the California Department of Public Health has confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that the variant was present in wastewater as early as Nov. 25.
Originally known as B.1.1.529, the variant first made international headlines on Nov. 26, soon after it was initially detected in South Africa.
That day, the WHO named B.1.1.529 as Omicron and labeled it a “variant of concern.” Two days later, in a technical brief, it said the strain could present a “very high” risk, citing its large number of mutations.
Meanwhile, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, the chair of the South African Medical Association and one of the first doctors to treat patients with Omicron has consistently maintained that Omicron is a mild variant.
“Let me be clear: nothing I have seen about this new variant warrants the extreme action the UK government has taken in response to it,” she wrote in The Daily Mail.
Coetzee was referring to “heavy travel restrictions on flights from across southern Africa, as well as imposing tighter rules at home on mask-wearing, fines, and extended quarantines.”
“No one here in South Africa is known to have been [hospitalized] with the Omicron variant, nor is anyone here believed to have fallen seriously ill with it,” she wrote.
More recently, Coetzee told ThePrint that Omicron symptoms have been mild in both vaccinated and unvaccinated patients.
“In the beginning of any wave, children and younger people are the first to be affected,” she told ThePrint. “As the wave progresses, more elderly, people with comorbidities, start getting affected. When that happens, we will know exactly how many severe cases there are.”