TOKYO, JAPAN – According to Japanese scientists, the Omicron strain of Covid-19 is far deadlier than seasonal flu, highlighting the potential danger of lifting pandemic curbs too quickly and underestimating the virus’s ongoing health risks. According to an analysis by scientists who advise Japan’s health minister, the case fatality rate of Omicron in Japan was around 0.13 percent based on cumulative excess deaths and the number of infections since January. While this is significantly lower than the 4.25 percent case-fatality rate seen earlier in the outbreak, it is still higher than the 0.006 percent to 0.09 percent seen with seasonal flu, according to the researchers. Countries all over the world have been easing mitigation measures, ranging from mask mandates to testing requirements, and urging a return to normalcy
The public has grown tired of restrictions, and the less severe severity of Omicron has reassured many that the rules are no longer necessary. While Japan has not formally downgraded the situation, it is relaxing border restrictions and quarantine periods for travelers, essential workers, and positive cases’ close contacts in order to keep the economy running. According to the researcher, the decrease in mortality with Omicron could be due to both the strain’s lower virulence, particularly in comparison to the Delta variant, and the benefits of vaccination.
According to the researchers, the findings highlight the importance of implementing control measures before vaccines are widely distributed. Dr. Takaji Wakita, chairman of the health ministry’s advisory board, said at a briefing Wednesday (March 2) night where the data was presented that more research is needed to determine the impact of the easing once all restrictions are lifted. He stated that the current data was obtained while the majority of the pandemic precautions were still in place. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal, has several limitations, including differences in data collection methods that make cross-comparisons difficult, according to Dr. Wakita.”There’s still a significant difference in mortality,” he said, adding that the arrival of Omicron has narrowed the gap between Covid-19 and influenza.