Little know about Omicron variant’s link to serious disease: ICU leader
Chair of the Dutch Union for intensive care Diederik Gommers said more research needs to be conducted on the connection between the new Omicron coronavirus variant and serious diseases. "It is very serious, but we also do not know many facts," Gommers said in WNL op Zondag.
The RIVM announced yesterday there is a high chance the Omicron is already in the Netherlands.
"We know that it is very infectious because it spread rapidly in South Africa, but we don't know how the virus will behave in the Netherlands," Gommers said. The ICU doctor said experts first need to establish if Omircon Covid-19 patients get sicker and if vaccines will still be effective against the new mutation. "There is much uncertainty and that is what scares us," Gommers said.
A travel ban has been instated on southern African countries to contain the virus, but EU citizens can still fly back and forth. "It is not airtight," independent politician Pieter Omtzingt said. On Friday, more than 600 passengers from South Africa landed at Schiphol. Later, it turned out 61 of them had contracted the coronavirus. "I was shocked that when the KLM plane was stopped, the passengers had to sit for hours in a non-ventilated space," Omtzingt said.
Healthcare professionals are concerned that if the Omicron variant is more contagious and makes patients sicker, code black will be reached in hospitals. "We have not reached code black," Gommers said. "Emergency surgeries can still go through, but afterward, we have problems finding a bed." If code black is received, doctors have to decide who gets emergency care and who does not.