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Expert expects less death from omicron but says illness won't be milder for some

Here's a computer generated image of the omicron variant of the coronavirus
Uma Shankar Sharma
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Here's a computer generated image of the omicron variant of the coronavirus

A local expert expects less death but doesn’t think the omicron variant of COVID-19 will be less severe for some Oklahomans.

University of Oklahoma’s Dr. Aaron Wendelboe said the omicron variant has already twice overtaken the delta variant in single day case counts.

“We’ve already had more cases reported two times than were reported in a single day in the delta surge in August.”

4,100 cases were reported once during August’s surge; omicron has exceeded that twice.

“We expect those numbers to continue to increase,” said Wendelboe.

In response to the news that omicron is more mild, Wendelboe said he doesn’t think that’s the case for those who are unvaccinated or who have never been infected.

People who are far out from their original vaccinations but not boosted could also be candidates for bad infections.

Wendelboe does expect less dying, but said the number killed will still be “regrettably high” because of the crush of cases and hospitalizations.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.