Higher cases, fewer deaths: the enigma of Omicron

Cases of Covid-19 have skyrocketed across Europe since Omicron appeared a month ago, but casualty figures have not followed suit. Is the new variant less aggressive than its predecessor?

A mural of a healthcare worker in Harold’s Cross in Dublin: the emergence of Omicron has changed the game yet again. Picture: Fergal Phillips

In the four short weeks since the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was discovered, it has plunged European countries into uncertainty.

In Denmark, the Netherlands and England, where Omicron first became dominant, cases initially skyrocketed, doubling every two to three days and triggering new restrictions and talk of lockdowns.

The Netherlands entered a strict lockdown last Saturday, just as public health experts advocated for the same in Denmark and rumours swirled of a two-week circuit break ...