Scotland facing ‘tsunami of infections’ from omicron variant, warns Nicola Sturgeon

A leading scientist has warned that the omicron Covid-19 variant presents “the ultimate lose-lose situation”.

Professor Francois Balloux, director of the UCL Genetics Institute, tweeted: “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 (and other similar potential threats).

“[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.

“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.

“The Omicron wave, (and its response to it) feels like the ultimate lose-lose-lose situation, but some outcomes still feel worse than others, either now, or in the future…”

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