So far the rate of increased hospitalization related to omicron in South Africa is negligible. This is certainly a better outcome than the opposite. This is also consistent with the original version of the virus and for Delta and for every other variant I have been able to track. In the vast majority of human infections, so far, covid is an inconvenience not a crisis. But — big but — the more contagious the version of the virus, eventually the more disease requiring medical care, and then (a few weeks later) the higher number of deaths. It is basically a numbers game and it has always taken some time — typically four to six weeks — for a highly contagious virus to begin finding those most vulnerable. Given these prior patterns, we should not assume a different outcome with omicron until more time has passed and more data are available.
December 7 meta notation: Perception of reality is (I perceive) always partial. We are both constrained and empowered by experience, expectations, angle of observation, self-correction and much more. My angle on the pandemic is that of one who spends most of his time, activity, and thinking on the behavior of demand and supply networks. This is not always the most relevant and helpful angle for engaging pandemic problems. But this angle may help those with other perspectives more fully recognize the health care consequences of high volume, high velocity flow behavior. Large scale dynamic, non-linear flows are innately chaotic, but offer a kind of chaos in which relationships and feedback are reliable sources of adaptation and creativity. Upstream and downstream are not just connected but interdependent, especially (it seems to this supply chain guy) on the pull of demand. Given my experience, I perceive that many problems associated with local supply of covid-required healthcare will only be effectively resolved by managing global flows of covid-driven demand.