Omicron Variant: Potential for Optimism

While we do not pretend to be subject matter experts, it is difficult to have market views without having a view on the future path of the pandemic. As the Omicron variant spreads globally and data is collected, it appears there are reasons to be optimistic. Data on new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from South Africa and the U.K suggest that while it is more transmissible, it is much less severe when contracted.


South Africa


Since Omicron was detected in South Africa, we’ve seen a rapid increase in cases, along with a potential peak.

(Source: Google Data)


While cases hit the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic, deaths have barely budged. Deaths do lag cases by some number of weeks, but experts say enough time has

passed to concur that the rapid rise in cases is not leading to a commensurate rise in deaths.



(Source: Google Data)

(Source: Financial Times)


UK


A similar pattern in the U.K.

(Source: Google Data)



The Bottom Line


Because of this, Invariant's default position is COVID-driven volatility in financial markets is likely to reverse. The less severe Omicron variant, in an environment of effective vaccines and antivirals, means a situation warranting anything resembling the March 2020 lockdown is off the table.