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Giant Microbes Omicron (SARS CoV-2) - Planet Microbe
Giant Microbes Omicron (SARS CoV-2) - Planet Microbe

Giant Microbes Omicron (SARS CoV-2)


The Omicron surge brought with it a potent fast-moving wave of Covid infections across the globe. During the fall of 2021 and winter of 2022, the Omicron variant accelerated the pace of sickness and death. Fortunately, the Omicron variant, though still potentially lethal, tends to cause severe illness less often than earlier strains of the Covid virus. Yet because of the sheer number of cases, hospitalisations still rose to record levels. Omicron is very good at infecting the upper respiratory tract, making it so contagious. It is not as good at infecting the lungs, so it is less virulent.

Identified in 2019 in China, Covid-19 quickly spread around the world during 2020. Spreading along with it: confusion, rumours and fear. Even in 2021, much about this virus remains unclear. Compared to the seasonal flu, Covid is more contagious and has a higher fatality rate. Scientists and public health experts scramble to confront it with 21st century therapies and vaccines. Meanwhile, governments close borders and isolate citizens. What should you do when a mysterious microbe comes knocking and the threat of a modern day plague is in the air? Start by staying calm and learning the facts.

The name Covid stands for coronavirus and disease. Corona is for its crown-like protein spikes. The virus itself is named SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, jumping from animals to humans. Many originate in bats. SARS was transmitted by civets, MERS by camels, and COVID-19 likely by animals sold in wildlife food markets. With microbial diseases, we are often at the mercy of nature and the interconnectedness of our world.

The Covid virus has repeatedly surprised scientists, mutating rapidly and accelerating when experts though it would ebb. The future of this pandemic depends on the virus and how we wield our arsenal of vaccines, ventilation, masks, treatments and public health measures. When it comes to the struggle against flu, measles, Covid and other infectious diseases, it is human wits versus microbe genes. If we want to triumph, we must think clearly, learn, prepare and respect the microbial world. Covid may become an endemic disease, indefinitely circulating at some level and becoming a routine fact of life. When this chapter of the Covid story will begin is yet to be determined.