Covid, season 3: can’t we cancel it already?

It’s been a rough two years and, like you, we can’t quite stomach the thought of living with the pandemic for a third year. Buuut we think – and research is beginning to suggest – that things might take a turn for the better this year. We hope. We beg.🥺

Researchers at Pretoria’s Steve Biko Academic Hospital found that the Omicron variant – which has been more contagious and less lethal – “may be a harbinger of the end of the epidemic phase of the Covid pandemic, ushering in its endemic phase”, Bloomberg reported. “Endemic” means a disease is less widespread and more predictable, like the flu or even HIV/Aids. 

Infections in South Africa have been under control for the most part. We passed the peak of the fourth wave in late December and authorities thought it safe to lift the nighttime curfew on New Year’s Eve so we at least got to ring in 2022 with some hope. 😌

Cases are, however, mounting on the other side of the world. In Europe, hospitals are being strained by the rapid spread of Omicron, especially after the holiday season. In the US, hospitals are postponing elective surgeries to free up staff and beds, Reuters reported. Hospital staff in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands have also been hit pretty hard, with Dutch authorities even asking staff who are infected but are asymptomatic to show up to work, according to Reuters. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 13 January 2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.