Early and uncertain

Here are the official statistics as of Sunday, November 28 from the South Africa National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

Here is how a leading local newspaper communicates the same statistics: Coronavirus SA.

Here is how the Wall Street Journal tries to put the same statistics into context for its readers: Omicron Variant Drives Rise in Covid-19 Hospitalizations in South Africa.

Here is an initial WHO effort to frame the risk: Enhancing Readiness for Omicron.

The WHO release includes this:

There are still considerable uncertainties. The main uncertainties are (1) how transmissible the variant is and whether any increases are  related to immune escape, intrinsic increased transmissibility, or both; (2) how well vaccines protect against infection, transmission, clinical disease of different degrees of severity and death; and (3) does the variant present with a different severity profile. 

In other words, my words, we know next-to-nothing actionable about omicron. In the next two weeks we will know much more. We should accept this uncertainty, watch, and wait. We can and should reinforce what we know mitigates transmission of prior and existing variants: avoid sharing crowded interior spaces, mask-up when inside with many others, ventilate as possible, keep our distance, and get vaccinated and boosted as possible. Some of these measures can have a marginal impact on supply chain velocity. None of these measures are major impediments to continued flow of demand and supply.