It has now been two weeks since the emergence of a new COVID variant, known as Omicron, set off alarms globally. Since then, we have been learning relevant data on its transmissibility, its impact on natural immunity (people who have passed COVID), on vaccine immunity (both in terms of efficacy against infection and against vaccination) and on hybrid immunity (those who have passed COVID and have also been vaccinated). We also have information about its severity, but it may be biased by the fact that people testing positive have a young age profile. In addition, we mull over the extent to which having one predominant variant (Delta) replaced by a new one (Omicron) could have an impact on inflation, and hence on interest rates. This two-page note, accompanied by self-explanatory graphs, attempts to encapsulate the data in order to understand its medical and economic consequences. As always, our medical analysis has been supervised by Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo, Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Autonomous University of Madrid, and member of the COVID-19 scientific monitoring committee at the Medical Association and the Autonomous Community of Madrid.
Is the spreading of the new Omicron variant a reason for concern?
Do vaccines and natural immunity protect us against Omicron infection?
Will it be possible to quickly readapt existing vaccines to fight the new variant?
What will be the foreseeable impact of Omicron on the economy?