From the London Mail [caution, tabloid]:
The new Covid variant Omicron could turn out to be a ‘Christmas gift’ if it causes milder illness, a German health expert said today after South African doctors said the strain appears to cause less severe symptoms.
Medics in South Africa said the strain is causing mild symptoms — such as a headache and tiredness — than previous versions of the virus and hasn’t led to a single hospitalization or death. Professor Karl Lauterbach, a clinical epidemiologist who is in the running to be Germany’s next health minister, said the early reports means Omicron could be a Christmas gift and may even speed up the end of the pandemic. He suggested that it has so many mutations — 32 on the spike protein alone, twice as many as Delta — which could mean it is optimized to infect and be less lethal, in line with how most respiratory viruses evolve. Scientists have long-warned the coronavirus is unlikely to ever be eradicated but will instead transition into a milder cold-like virus.