On Thursday, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium released a report modeling potential scenarios for the omicron variant, discovered on Nov. 24 by South African scientists. As of Dec. 15, many of omicron's epidemiological characteristics remain uncertain, researchers said, so a range of "plausible scenarios" were projected.
Uncertain characteristics currently include intrinsic transmissibility, ability to evade vaccine-acquired and infection-acquired immunity and severity, according to researchers. COVID-19 cases over a six-month period beginning Dec. 1 were projected using a compartmental model which tracks population-level immunity against the delta and omicron variants derived from infections, primary vaccines and booster vaccines. Researchers tracked 18 different scenarios.