In an ideal world, we'll be getting this headline every day for the next few weeks. It's going to sound like a repeat but time is the key factor here.
Covid almost always starts out as mild and then it worsens. How much it worsens is the key variable.
In an ideal world, this variant is no worse than the flu and even if it sweeps through the world, it won't derail the recovery.
Today, the EU's medicines agency said that cases so far appear 'mostly mild'. At the same time, there's increasing evidence that it's more transmissible with a Japanese study suggesting it could be four-times more infectious than delta.
Because of that, I'm most worried about China. The virus could prove impossible to contain there and lead to shutdowns and making bottlenecks worse, something I wrote about earlier this week.
As for the severity, we will have to continue to wait for definitive data. The WHO's Van Kerkhove today said she "wanted to caution against any conclusions about [the] severity of Omicron yet, because right now we really have anecdotal information. We don't really have studies yet."