Professor Francois Balloux has expressed his worry about how the ongoing rise of the Omicron variant will change people’s attitudes in the future.
He said: “I suspect the Omicron variant wave will have a major impact on future policy. To me, it feels like the most critical event during the pandemic as concerns our future attitude to covid”
He added: “If the Omicron wave turned out to be roughly equally bad in terms of hospitalisations and deaths to the previous Alpha and Delta waves, it would vindicate harsh pre-emptive interventions and likely normalise them in the foreseeable future,”
“Conversely, if it turned out to be much milder than anticipated, I would predict the public mood to turn against harsh restrictions, with a possible major backlash against authorities, which might make it more difficult to decisively respond to potential future threats, he added.
“Anything in between, with the Omicron wave being bad, but not as bad as Alpha and Delta, will likely create further social divisions and entrench deep resentment among many people in the community.”
Professor Francois Balloux described it as the “ultimate lose-lose situation”.
The UK Health Security Agency identified a further 249 Omicron cases on Thursday, almost twice the number announced the day before, bringing the UK total to 817