Omicron’s Severity Will Take More Time to Assess, Scientists Say

JOHANNESBURG—Scientists in South Africa say they are reaching preliminary answers to two of the three big questions about the Omicron coronavirus variant: Is it more contagious than earlier versions, is it more effective at bypassing the body’s immune responses and does it make you sicker?

Their tentative answers to the first two questions are yes, though definitive conclusions will need more work. But they say it is too soon since the start of the outbreak to answer the third—whether Omicron is more virulent.