“Omicron” Isn’t New. It’s Very, Very Old
Great distinction denotes an old pedigree, not a recent one
“Omicron” is said to have 2.5X as many mutations on the spike protein as any other known variant. It is also supposed to be “new”. Is it plausible that both of these are true?
It is theoretically possible, but it is statistically extremely unlikely. Here is a variant that has a record number of mutations times 2.5 and all of these are supposed to have occurred only very recently, basically all at the same time. That stretches credulity.
The fact that it is so different from other variants means that it represents an old lineage. It means its proto-Omicron predecessors have been around for a very long time accumulating mutations throughout, having split off from the main branch very early on.
Think about it. If a hitherto unknown form of English was discovered in some impenetrable forest that was far more distinct from modern English than any other currently existing variant of the tongue. Would we conclude that this newly-discovered form was very new and had split off from modern standard English only recently? Of course not.
On the contrary, its comparative strangeness would be a surefire sign that this newly-discovered variant had diverged from a very early form of English and had been developing independently ever since — and for a very long time already.
Thus the idea that “Omicron” presents a new risk is very strange. Proto-Omicrons have already been around us right from the start.
It is also said by many to be mild. (Milder than the grandpa flu with the 99.8% survivability and an average age of death of 84.) If that turns out to be the case, it could be the result of natural adaptation that tends toward less lethal forms, but there is also another possibility.
It could also be that Omicron is particularly mild, because it is an offshoot of a very early form of the Covid virus before the latter took a turn toward greater lethality.
There is some reason to believe that a less-lethal predecessor to Covid was circulating in East Asia in 2019. Was that Omicron’s grandad?
Omircon is now the dominant covid variant in South Africa, for at least 1 month. Covid deaths in South Africa have plummeted to lowest level since start of pandemic. Omicron is a blessing in disguise. pic.twitter.com/8YCPSqP1VM
— Ghanem Nuseibeh (@gnuseibeh) December 11, 2021