COVID Instances Spike as Questions Stay About Omicron’s Menace


Dec. 17, 2021 — Prime infectious illness officers count on a surge of COVID-19 instances after the vacations and say Omicron will quickly take over because the dominant pressure in the USA.

One of the simplest ways to remain protected is by getting vaccinated and boosted, they are saying.

“For the unvaccinated, you are taking a look at a winter of extreme sickness and loss of life — for yourselves, households, and the hospitals who might quickly overwhelm,” White Home COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients mentioned at a information briefing Friday. “We’d like the American folks to do their half.”

The Omicron variant has been detected in not less than 39 states and 75 nations, in keeping with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD.

The pressure is extra transmissible than the already extremely infectious Delta variant, and though there was early proof that it brought on extra gentle illness, she mentioned that’s possible as a result of a lot of these contaminated have been vaccinated and boosted.

“Though Delta continues to flow into broadly in the USA, Omicron is growing quickly and we count on it to grow to be the dominant pressure in the USA, because it has in different nations, within the coming weeks,” Walensky mentioned.

The U.S. is averaging near 1,300 deaths from COVID-19 every day. New instances, deaths, and hospitalizations are greater now than within the earlier winter — earlier than vaccines have been so broadly accessible. The New York Instances reported Friday that new infections in Connecticut and Maine have grown 150% previously 2 weeks, and Ohio and Indiana are seeing hospitalization charges nearing the worst of final winter’s surge.

Dueling reviews launched this week gave trigger for aid and concern about Omicron.

A examine from South Africa launched Tuesday exhibits decrease hospitalizations through the first 3 weeks of the Omicron wave than throughout earlier waves from different variants. That’s the excellent news.

The regarding information is out of the UK, the place Imperial School London reported Friday that the danger of re-infection with COVID-19 from Omicron is greater than 5 occasions as excessive and that instances of Omicron-based COVID-19 are doubling each 2 days.

What’s extra, the examine “finds no proof of Omicron having decrease severity than Delta, judged by both the proportion of individuals testing optimistic who report signs, or by the proportion of instances in search of hospital care after an infection. Nonetheless, hospitalization information stays very restricted at the moment,” researchers mentioned.

“Now we have no proof that the virus itself is extra gentle,” Eric Topol, MD, government vice chairman of Scripps Analysis and editor-in-chief of Medscape, WebMD’s sister web site for well being care professionals, instructed PBS NewsHour. “Till we’ve got that, we’ve got to imagine that individuals who haven’t any safety are extremely weak to getting very sick.”

The White Home COVID-19 group continues to induce mother and father and guardians to get their youngsters vaccinated, particularly in anticipation of a post-holiday spike. Walensky mentioned the CDC’s vaccine advisory board met Thursday to proceed the security dialogue about COVID-19 vaccinations in youngsters.

Thus far, 20 million youngsters underneath 17 and 5 million underneath 11 have acquired their pictures.

“Wanting particularly at vaccine security information from over 50,000 youngsters 5-11 years outdated, we discovered no proof of great security issues,” Walensky mentioned.

Prime infectious illness skilled Anthony Fauci, MD, highlighted the significance of getting vaccinated and boosted to keep away from severe illness from Delta and Omicron.

“We’re in a scenario the place we at the moment are dealing with an important Delta surge and we’re trying over our shoulder at an oncoming Omicron surge,” he mentioned. “The optimum safety is absolutely vaccinated plus a lift.”

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