HOUSTON CHRONICLE – With a new year, we find ourselves dealing with new variations on old tales.
Last we talked to Dr. Peter Hotez — dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital — he remained anxious about the delta variant of COVID-19 while the omicron variant began making news.
Weeks later, omicron shows signs of waning, but deaths remain high as does coronavirus fatigue. A recent talking point suggested that the fast spread of omicron might accelerate the pace of COVID-19 from pandemic to endemic.
Hotez isn’t quite convinced we are there yet. We asked him for an update along with a handful of reader questions.
Q: I think this is our first one of these for the new year. But why change things? What are your thoughts on where we are now with delta, omicron, all of it?
A: In some ways we’ve reproduced in 2022 what happened in 2021. There was a big wave across the South and Texas in the summer followed by a national wave moving into the winter.
What happened in 2020? Exactly the same thing. Variants are different. Some specifics are different. But there’s a pattern there.
Q: There’s a lot of talk about omicron creating herd immunity and the transition from pandemic to endemic. Your thoughts?
A: The big picture, I’m still concerned about. There’s a lot of happy talk about omicron somehow acting as a weakened virus, herd immunity and the end of the pandemic.
I do not think so yet. I think we’re in for another wave this summer across Texas and it could be just like 2020 and 2021. Here are the reasons why.
One: I’m not convinced the durability of the protection from omicron is going to be adequate …read more [subscription may be required].