Sunday, November 28, 2021

Qatar Coronavirus Updates -- Cases Up, Spreader Events, and Omicron Variant

Community cases in Qatar remain in the 100-150 range a day. Not great, better than most countries, but still too high for my liking. Hospitalizations are up slightly with about 90 people in hospital and 17 in ICU. No one has died in the past week or so.  

I can't see the number of cases decreasing any time soon because of two major events. As for many parts of the world there were Black Friday shopping events and the malls were PACKED. I forgot about Black Friday and tried to stop by a mall to pick up something. Parking was completely full and even the side streets near the mall were full of cars. I decided not to go in -- if the malls were that crowded it was just a super-spreader event waiting to happen.

Also the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup is in Qatar from November 30 to December 18 so I expect a lot of tourists and crowds at the stadiums and entertainment events.

The timing is unfortunate because there is a new Covid variant of concern, the Omicron variant, discovered in southern Africa. Countries have already stopped flights from that area but it might be too little too late as cases of the variant have been detected in the UK, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Belgium and Australia. The Australian cases entered the country on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha, where they had transited from South Africa, so there is a chance Omicron is in Qatar now as well. Scientists will have better data after a few weeks but given the mutations in the Omicron variant they are expecting that vaccines will have reduced effectiveness. 

It will be an interesting few weeks as we see how this develops. Lockdowns and restrictions might be coming again.          

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