A leading virus expert has warned that 32,000 people who are expecting to celebrate Christmas and New year will have died of Covid-19 before then.
The comments by Dr. Gregory Poland, the epidemiologist for Mayo Clinics, come as the new omicron variant of Covid is already in half of all US states.
Poland, who is among the top immunologists in the county, suggested that based on his calculations, over 30,000 people in the US would die of Covid before the end of the year.
“32,000 Americans who think they’re going to be alive to celebrate Christmas and New Years are, no pun intended, dead wrong,” Poland told MailOnline. “Not one of them believes [it].”
“Everybody’s comforting themselves with the idea that omicron is less severe. It may well be but that is very, very, preliminary information that comes from one specific area of the world where Delta has not been as deadly as it has here.
“It fascinates me that a tiny little preliminary report like that makes its way around the world. Everybody fixes on that belief. And yet, look at the last year of work trying to get people immunized and they ignore it,” he added.
The first US case of omicron was recorded on 1 December and, so far, twenty-five states have detected cases of the variant, a number that health officials say will rise in the coming weeks.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the new Covid variant, “Omicron,” a label applied when a particular strain is especially virulent, transmissible or able to defeat public health measures.
However, according to scientists, it may take months for a full understanding of the threat posed by omicron which was first detected in Botswana on 11 November, and identified in South Africa on 14 November.
Common symptoms of omicron include fatigue, coughing and congestion.