American Coronavirus: Omicron Will Not Recognize State Borders When It Storms The United States, Expert Says


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“Even though more people who have it have milder disease, so many more people overall will have it that I think we’re going to see a real challenge in our health systems over the next three to eight. weeks, ”he added. said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

“And what’s really difficult, on top of that, we can expect 10-30% of health workers to be infected during this time.”

The variant will not discriminate along state lines, Osterholm told CNN on Monday.

“Instead of seeing the regional pushes that we were seeing with Delta – a lot of the west is currently at a very low level with Delta, parts of the south – I think Omicron is going to be a national viral blizzard,” he said. he declared.

The first confirmed death linked to Omicron in the United States was reported on Monday. The Texas man in his 50s was unvaccinated, had underlying health issues and had previously been infected with Covid-19, officials said.

Globally, Omicron cases are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days, the World Health Organization has said.

Omicron’s much higher transmission levels compared to Delta would lead to increased hospitalizations in the United States, Osterholm said.

Almost 73% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 61.5% are fully vaccinated and 29.8% of those fully vaccinated have received a booster, according to CDC figures.

People should focus on optimal protection against the virus with a booster, Osterholm said.

“Right now we have a lot of people in this country who have bought some protection, but will it be enough to prevent serious illness with Omicron? We don’t know.”

It is concerning that only 30% of vaccinated Americans received a booster, because it takes seven to 14 days for immunity to really improve after a booster, Osterholm said.

“Well that takes us into the new year. Takes us throughout the holiday season and into the heart of the Omicron, what I call ‘the blizzard’. So it’s not looking good. It’s a real perfect storm, unfortunately, of events, ”he said.

Biden to announce free home testing plan as he assures vaccinated Americans they don't need to cancel vacation plans
President Joe Biden is expected to announce additional measures in the fight against Covid-19 on Tuesday, the White House said, but he will not necessarily speak of more restrictions in the face of the increase in cases.
Biden will announce the purchase of half a billion home Covid-19 rapid tests and a plan to distribute them for free to Americans who request them through a website, an administration official said.

The 500 million new tests will be available next month and will reach Americans by mail, the official said.

How often and when people need to be tested for Covid-19 depend on their situation, Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday.

“If you’re going to a function, to a dinner party and you’re hopefully vaccinated and boosted, but want to take that extra step… you should,” Fauci, director of the National Allergy Institute and of infectious disease, “New Day” told CNN.

“Also, if you find yourself in a situation where you may have been exposed to someone, you may want to get tested a few days later to make sure that you are in a situation where you haven’t. not been infected, ”Fauci said.

Also among the president’s new initiatives is a plan to prepare 1,000 military personnel to deploy to overcrowded hospitals across the country in January and February, administration officials said. These service members will include doctors, nurses, physicians and other military medical personnel.

Daily number of Covid-19 cases with Omicron could exceed previous peaks, CDC warns

Omicron cases could lead to higher case rates than seen in the United States with previous spikes, CDC published on its website this week.
The daily number of Covid-19 cases with Omicron

Previously, cases peaked at their highest level in January 2021, with 7-day averages exceeding 250,000 new cases per day.

The United States currently records an average of more than 139,700 new cases of Covid-19 every day, according to Johns Hopkins University. This is 16% more than a week ago and is back to levels last seen in mid-September.

Experts say that doesn’t mean hospitalizations and deaths will increase to the same level we’ve seen with previous outbreaks, in part because the country has higher levels of immunity against Covid-19 and also because early data suggests that Omicron may cause less severe illness.

Still, Omicron cases could result in “increased hospital demand even if the severity is reduced, due to the large number of anticipated cases occurring within a short period of time,” notes the CDC.

States prepare for Omicron

Some states are already overwhelmed, with Army medics deploying to help combat Covid-19 in Indiana and Wisconsin.

Two teams of 20 people will be deployed to assist civilian hospitals in the two states, the US Army Northern Command said on Monday.

Meanwhile, northeast Ohio is in crisis, said Dr Brook Watts, chief medical officer of community and public health at MetroHealth System in Cleveland.

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“I think the health systems, together, said it the best this weekend. When we put out a joint ad with all the hospitals in our area and she said a word, she said:” Help, “He was saying help because our hospitals are full of Covid patients and we are struggling,” she told CNN on Monday.

Unvaccinated people are 10 times more likely to test positive and 20 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than fully vaccinated people who also received a booster dose, according to data recently released by the CDC .

Learn to live alongside the Covid-19.  But good luck finding a test.

Compared to fully vaccinated people who have not yet received a booster, unvaccinated people have a five times higher risk of testing positive for Covid-19 and a 14 times higher risk of dying, according to the assessment CDC data through October.

Cases have increased in New York state, which nearly tripled in a week, according to data from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration on Monday. And in New York, officials are working to restore additional testing capacity, they said.

In Washington, DC – which has seen its highest daily count of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic – the indoor mask mandate was reinstated at 6 a.m. ET on Tuesday and will remain in place until January 31, a announced Mayor Muriel Bowser.

In Boston, proof of Covid-19 vaccination will be required for indoor restaurants, gyms, theaters and arenas, Mayor Michelle Wu said. The mandate will apply to customers and employees and will be implemented. Online phased: Single doses of vaccine will be required by January 15, and second doses by February 15.

Preliminary data suggests that Omicron may be less likely to cause severe lung disease

New research adds to growing evidence that the Omicron variant may be less likely to cause severe lung disease and appears to be less sensitive to current vaccines compared to other variants – but a booster dose may help improve protection against the variant.

Researchers in the UK, Japan and South Africa analyzed blood serum samples from vaccinated people and found that neutralization of Omicron was not detectable for most people who received two doses of the vaccines. AstraZeneca or Pfizer / BioNTech, but a third dose of vaccine – – or booster shot – neutralization saved in the short term.

The first data, posted tuesday to the biorxiv.org preprint server, suggests that Omicron more dramatically avoids vaccine-induced antibodies among those vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccines compared to Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines. The research has not yet been peer reviewed or published in a journal.
Pfizer's childhood vaccine does not produce the immunity expected in younger children;  the company adds a 3rd dose to the trials

“The Omicron variant appears to be much better than Delta at avoiding neutralizing antibodies in individuals who have only received two doses of the vaccine. A third ‘booster’ dose with the Pfizer vaccine may have reversed this in the short term, although us “I always expect a decrease in immunity to occur over time,” said Ravi Gupta, study author and professor at the Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Diseases of the United States. ‘University of Cambridge, in a press release Monday.

To better understand how Omicron can infect human cells, Gupta and his colleagues also tested how pseudoviruses infect cells in a mini model of parts of the lungs. Researchers found that Omicron has lower lung cell infectivity compared to the Delta variant.

“We assume that the more efficient the virus is at infecting our cells, the more severe the disease can be. The fact that Omicron is not very efficient at entering lung cells and causes fewer fused cells with levels Weaker infections in the lab suggest this new variant may cause less severe lung disease, ”Gupta said in the press release.

“While more work is needed to corroborate these findings, overall this suggests that Omicron’s mutations present the virus with a double-edged sword: It is better at evading the immune system, but it may have lost some part of its ability to cause serious illness. . “

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the first name of Dr. Brook Watts, chief medical officer of community and public health at MetroHealth System in Cleveland.

CNN’s Sonnet Swire, Jason Hanna, Jacqueline Howard, Michael Nedelman, Laura Ly, Artemis Moshtaghian, Raja Razek, Nikki Carvajal and Virginia Langmaid contributed to this report.

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