The Omicron variant multiplies in the human bronchi 70 times faster than the initial infection with COVID-19 or the delta variant, see above a new study from Hong Kong University.
The lightning-fast spread within humans could explain why the variant may be transmitted between humans more quickly than previous versions, say the researchers. Their study also showed that Omicron infection in the lungs is significantly lower than the original SARS-CoV-2, which could be an indicator of lesser disease severity. The research is currently being peer-reviewed for publication.
By infecting many more people, a very contagious virus can lead to more serious illness and death, although the virus itself is less dangerous, said Dr. Michael Chan Chi-wai, the study’s lead researcher.
“Along with our recent studies showing that the Omicron variant can partially escape immunity from vaccines and past infections, the overall threat from the Omicron variant is likely to be very significant,” he said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the Omicron variant has now been reported in at least 36 states and 75 countries. Schools and businesses are grappling with the latest threats.
Thomas Denny, chief operating officer of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute and professor of medicine, called Omicron on Thursday “the perfect storm” that will challenge administrators.
“It’s awful,” Denny said. “We have a rapidly transmitted virus that coincides with a time when many of us spend a lot of time indoors because it’s cold. We come together in groups during the holidays. … This new variant threw us a curveball at the worst possible time. “
Also on the news:
► UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres on Thursday admonished the world to make progress within a few days towards the now distant goal of vaccinating 40% of the world’s population against COVID-19 before the end of the year, saying: “Vaccination equality gives variants a wild pass to run.”
►Stanford University is moving classes online and banning parties for the first two weeks of the winter quarter, while students will need a booster vaccination by the end of January amid rising coronavirus infections nationwide and the spread of the Omicron variant.
►The Chicago Public Schools will be distributing 150,000 takeaway COVID-19 test kits to 309 schools in communities hit hard by the pandemic on Friday, the district said.
►The CDC says people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should avoid contact with pets and other animals that can get the disease from humans but are unlikely to pass it on to them.
►Almost $ 750,000 was given to 730 West Virginia University students as part of the “We Are Stronger Together” campaign to help students affected by the pandemic with tuition, room and board and other expenses, the university said.
📈Today’s numbers: The US has recorded more than 50.4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 803,000 deaths. according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global Total: More than 272 million cases and 5.3 million deaths. More than 202 million Americans – 61% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to CDC.
📘What we read: The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is moving faster than surveillance systems can track and has so unsettled some medical experts that they are starting to slow down preparations for their Christmas parties.
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Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines are safer and therefore preferable to Johnson & Johnson’s one-time vaccination, a CDC advisory committee said Thursday.
The panel unanimously voted to recommend the two mRNA vaccines to J & Js as the latter have been linked to very rare but dangerous blood clots. They have resulted in nine deaths in the 17 million people in the U.S. who received the J&J shots. The average age of the deceased was 45 years. Seven of them were obese. Two had no known illnesses.
The CDC acted hours later and accepted the panel’s recommendation.
Getting the J&J vaccine is still considered to be much safer than any risk of blood clots, as getting COVID-19 is significantly more likely to result in serious illness or death, the panel said.
– Elizabeth way
The overwhelming presence of the Omicron variant in wastewater samples taken in Florida County, where Disney World is located, provides the latest evidence of how quickly the new strain of coronavirus can spread imperceptibly.
Although there have been virtually no cases of clinical infection, omicron has outperformed the Delta variant in collections from wastewater sampling sites in Orange County, officials said. A sampling this week showed that Omicron made up almost 100% of the strains.
Orange County’s Mayor Jerry Demings said most coronavirus patients in local hospitals were infected with the Delta variant. However, there is news about how much Omicron has spread numbers to affect tourism in an area that draws tens of millions of travelers to theme parks like Disney World and Universal Orlando each year.
Omicron’s rapid expansion is having repercussions in some parts of Europe as France imposes restrictions on entry from the UK, where health officials said the variant is expanding at an “absolutely phenomenal rate” as the number of cases doubles every two to three days .
For the second straight day, the UK set a pandemic record for the most coronavirus infections on Thursday with 88,376 confirmed new cases, nearly 10,000 more than the previous mark. Nonetheless, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We’re not blocking things, we’re promoting booster vaccinations instead.
Germany administered nearly 1.5 million vaccinations on Wednesday, the highest single-day total to date, and officials are scrambling to source more doses in an aggressive vaccination and booster program.
European Union leaders have said that giving booster vaccinations is “urgent” and “crucial” to address the surge in infections across the continent and the emergence of omicrons. Some heads of state and government, such as Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, are either tightening the COVID-19 border controls or extending their timeframes in addition to the provision of boosters.
Booking platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo let their hosts choose their refund policies. While the pandemic is still affecting travel – especially international travel – travelers should be aware that canceling a booking can be costly.
While Airbnb and Vrbo introduced more flexible cancellation policies in the early days of the pandemic, both short-term rental platforms have since let their hosts choose their refund policies. However, Airbnb guests who contracted COVID-19 are eligible for a refund or travel credit. For more details and tips, read more here.
– Bailey Schulz,
Despite predominantly vaccinated player populations, North American professional sports leagues have been affected by COVID-19 from the second winter to an extent not seen since 2020. Of the NFL, which reports a one-day high to the Chicago Bulls postponing two games after 10 players enter COVID-19 logs, every active league sees its regular season at risk from the pandemic.
Sports leagues have rewritten safety protocols and urged their players to get vaccinated, and the efforts have paid off. The NFL reports that nearly 95% of their players are vaccinated, the NHL only has one unvaccinated holdout, and the NBA also topped 97%, despite the rare high profile holdout like Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving.
And yet, the NFL reported the highest day of positive COVID-19 tests on Monday, according to the NFL network, with 36 players and a staff member forced to log. And in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers joined the Bulls, Nets and Charlotte Hornets as clubs that have suffered setbacks related to COVID in the past few days. In the NHL, four teams have now paused due to rising COVID-19 cases.
Nurses and caregivers across the country are outnumbered and have not seen participation in work actions for years.
In California, which has a strong union tradition, Kaiser Permanente management misjudged the tensions in the workplace during the COVID-19 crisis and risked thousands of lost work as union nurses were reluctant to sign a four-year contract covering wages for New hires would have been reduced. In Colorado, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Massachusetts, nurses are involved in union battles over staff and working conditions.
“There is a nationwide shortage of nursing professionals and nursing professionals. You saw helpers leave. You saw cleaners go, ”said Liz Soriano-Clark, a teacher and nurse in Pittsburgh. “Why is that? Because they can earn more at McDonald’s and don’t have to throw away vomit. “ Read more here.
– Christine Spolar, Mark Kreidler and Rae Ellen Bichell, Kaiser Health News
The Omicron variant is rapidly gaining ground in the United States, health officials warned on Wednesday, as two more confirmed cases of the coronavirus strain were identified in Michigan, bringing the state’s known total to three.
Although Omicron is estimated to make up only about 3% of coronavirus cases in the United States, “early data suggest that Omicron is more transmissible than Delta with a doubling time of about two days,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.
At this level of growth, omicron could soon be the dominant variety in the US.
– Kristen Jordan Shamus and Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press