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Omicron - COVID-19 Variant (B.1.1529) a "Variant of Concern"

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  • sharon sanders
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  • Emily
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    This public health messaging from a county in Colorado is excellent.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kewTSSmSk10
    Douglas County COVID-19 Message
    21,779 views
    Jan 13, 2022


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  • sharon sanders
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  • Pathfinder
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    UK -

    Endemic Covid: Is the pandemic entering its endgame?


    James Gallagher
    Health and science correspondent
    @JamesTGallagheron Twitter

    Published 2 days ago

    ...
    "We're almost there, it is now the beginning of the end, at least in the UK," Prof Julian Hiscox, chairman in infection and global health at the University of Liverpool, tells me. "I think life in 2022 will be almost back to before the pandemic."
    ...
    There will be people - mostly the old and vulnerable - who will die from endemic Covid. So there is still a decision to be made about how we live alongside it.

    "If you're willing to tolerate zero deaths from Covid, then we're facing a whole raft of restrictions and it's not game over," Prof Hiscox explains.

    But, he says, "In a bad flu season, 200-300 die a day over winter and nobody wears a mask or socially distances, that's perhaps a right line to draw in the sand."

    Lockdowns and restrictions on mass gatherings will not come back and mass testing for Covid will end this year, he expects.

    The near certainty is there will be booster vaccines for the vulnerable come the autumn in order to top up their protection through winter.

    "We need to accept the fact that our flu season is also going to be a coronavirus season, and that is going to be a challenge for us," says Dr Groppelli.

    However, it is still uncertain how bad winters will be as the people who die from flu and Covid tend to be the same. As one scientist put it, "You can't die twice."
    ...
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-59970281

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  • sharon sanders
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  • JJackson
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    As we are beginning to get some useful data on the current VOC this may be a good time to review what we know.
    Case counts are rocketing (nearly 3 times any previous wave), and showing no signs of slowing, as the graph below shows.

    cov jan 2022.JPG

    There is some, very tentative, evidence that it may be less clinically severe but it is doubtful that this will be enough to stop a flood of hospitalisation and probably deaths. Even if the hoped for drop in virulence significantly reduces the severity, on a case by case basis, the far higher case loads will negate that advantage. Looking at the graph there has not been enough time between the start of the current exponential case growth (the last 3 weeks) to see how that plays out in terms of the deaths due to the lag time of about two weeks for hospitalisations and a month for fatalities.

    Omicron definitely has a significant fitness advantage over the other variants but it is very hard to compare with Alpha and Delta, which also rapidly established themselves, as the population's immune profiles have changed so much.
    The graph below shows how quickly Alpha (red), Delta (greens) and Omicron (purple) established themselves and then got supplanted. I have used the UK data as they do the most case sequencing and are well globally connected.

    covar UK.JPG

    What data there is comes from early case data in South Africa which shows lower, or at least slower, hospitalisations than delta and very different demographic profiles. The age, sex, comorbidities and O2 need are all very different. (compare column 4 to the earlier VOCs. N.B. also that this is a smaller data set so the confidence limits will be larger).

    SA data.JPG

    The next bit of useful data comes from https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1....27.21268278v1 which basically shows that at least part of Omicron's fitness advantage comes from immune evasion but a booster vaccine dose helps reduce this. It, along with other data, shows Omicron has a shorter incubation period.

    There is also good evidence that Omicron cause less sever symptoms in mice and hamster models with less replication in the lung but high replication in the nose. As usually with animal models it is difficult to say if this has any relevance in humans.


    My guess would be that it is a bit milder but very fit. This is good if it reduces morbidity but probably also bad if it leaves more mild and asymptomatic cases shedding and accounting for its explosive growth. I would be very cautious for a while in your contacts with others - distance, wear a mask and, if you can, get vaccinated and boosted. I think our health care services are going to have a hard time coping over the next few months and will need all of us to reduce our risk as much as we can.


    The top graph is from the current WHO sitrep
    https://www.who.int/docs/default-sou...&download=true

    The variants tables can be found here
    https://covariants.org/per-country

    The SA data
    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jam...rticle/2787776

    The mouse/hamster data
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34981044/
    Attached Files

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  • sharon sanders
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  • Pathfinder
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    Omicron much weaker coronavirus variant than Delta, new study says — but some still urge caution


    Alexander Nazaryan
    Senior White House Correspondent
    Wed, January 12, 2022, 12:51 PM·


    WASHINGTON — The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is much less likely to cause hospitalization and death than the earlier Delta variant, a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds, confirming to a dramatic degree predictions some virologists have been making since the now dominant variant first appeared in Southern Africa.

    The findings provided “key insight” into how the newest variant operates, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said as she introduced the data, which came from a study of both Omicron and Delta infections throughout Southern California. The study found that, as compared to the Delta variant, Omicron resulted in a 91 percent drop in the risk of death, while the risk of hospitalization was halved. For those who did require hospitalization from Omicron, risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit — signaling more serious disease — was reduced by three-fourths.

    CDC

    Omicron infection is “associated with substantially reduced risk of severe clinical endpoints and shorter durations of hospital stay” compared to Delta, the authors found.
    ...
    https://news.yahoo.com/omicron-much-...185123453.html

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  • Pathfinder
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    Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against Omicron or Delta infection

    Sarah A. Buchan, Hannah Chung, Kevin A. Brown, Peter C. Austin, Deshayne B. Fell, Jonathan B. Gubbay, View ORCID ProfileSharifa Nasreen, Kevin L. Schwartz, Maria E. Sundaram, Mina Tadrous, Kumanan Wilson, Sarah E. Wilson, Jeffrey C. Kwong

    doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.30.21268565

    This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed [what does this mean?]. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.

    ABSTRACT

    Background The incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, including among those who have received 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, has increased substantially since Omicron was first identified in the province of Ontario, Canada.

    Methods

    Applying the test-negative design to linked provincial data, we estimated vaccine effectiveness against infection (irrespective of symptoms or severity) caused by Omicron or Delta between November 22 and December 19, 2021. We included individuals who had received at least 2 COVID-19 vaccine doses (with at least 1 mRNA vaccine dose for the primary series) and used multivariable logistic regression to estimate the effectiveness of two or three doses by time since the latest dose.

    Results

    We included 3,442 Omicron-positive cases, 9,201 Delta-positive cases, and 471,545 test-negative controls. After 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine effectiveness against Delta infection declined steadily over time but recovered to 93% (95%CI, 92-94%) ≥7 days after receiving an mRNA vaccine for the third dose. In contrast, receipt of 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccines was not protective against Omicron. Vaccine effectiveness against Omicron was 37% (95%CI, 19-50%) ≥7 days after receiving an mRNA vaccine for the third dose.

    Conclusions

    Two doses of COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to protect against infection by Omicron. A third dose provides some protection in the immediate term, but substantially less than against Delta. Our results may be confounded by behaviours that we were unable to account for in our analyses. Further research is needed to examine protection against severe outcomes.
    ...
    Funding Statement

    This work was supported by the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) through a grant from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CNF 151944). This project was also supported by funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada, through the Vaccine Surveillance Reference Group and the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.
    ...
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1....30.21268565v1

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  • sharon sanders
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  • gsgs
    commented on 's reply
    peak in GA, which was a little ahead. with 500 per M in hospital..
    FL now also has 500/M , TX has 400 , CA 300 , NY 640, DC 1300

    http://magictour.free.fr/hosp0108.GIF

  • Pathfinder
    replied

    Head of COVID response for UCSF's ER dept.: 'I have not intubated a single COVID patient during this Omicron surge'

    Amy Graff,SFGATE
    Jan. 10, 2022
    Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 9:06 a.m.

    On Saturday, in response to hospitals begging for relief from a massive staffing crisis, the California Department of Public Health announced that most hospitals and skilled nursing facilities can bring COVID-positive and exposed staff back to work without testing or quarantines. The staffers must be asymptomatic, are required to wear N95 masks and are encouraged to work with patients who are already COVID-positive as much as possible.

    This news might come as a surprise to people who have been reading dire warnings about omicron and some public health officials’ pleas to cancel plans and stay home. Many public health officials have argued these measures are necessary to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID patients. Indeed, for the past few weeks, San Francisco hospitals have been in dire straits. But it’s not because people are sick — it’s because of staffing shortages driven by overly strict state quarantine rules, the director of COVID response at UCSF's emergency department said.

    After reviewing the charts of every COVID-positive patient at UCSF hospitals on Jan. 4, Dr. Jeanne Noble, an associate professor of emergency medicine at UCSF, determined that 70% of them were in the hospital for other reasons.

    "The real COVID crisis that our hospitals are facing is a severe staffing shortage that is compromising the quality of our care," Noble said Friday, shortly before the policy change was announced.
    ...
    https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/artic...F-16758335.php

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  • Pathfinder
    replied
    January 11, 2022
    4:51 AM CST
    Last Updated 7 hours ago
    Africa

    South African studies suggest Omicron has higher 'asymptomatic carriage'

    JOHANNESBURG, Jan 11 (Reuters) -
    ...
    In the Ubuntu study evaluating the efficacy of Moderna's (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine in people living with HIV, 31% of 230 participants undergoing screening tested positive, with all 56 samples available for sequencing analysis verified to be Omicron.

    "This is in stark contrast to the positivity rate pre-Omicron, which ranged from less than 1% to 2.4%," the researchers said in a statement.

    In a subgroup of the Sisonke trial evaluating the efficacy of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ.N) COVID-19 vaccine, the mean asymptomatic carriage rate rose to 16% during the Omicron period from 2.6% during the Beta and Delta outbreaks.

    "The Sisonke study included 577 subjects previously vaccinated, ... with results suggesting a high carriage rate even in those known to be vaccinated," the researchers said.

    They added that the "higher asymptomatic carriage rate is likely a major factor in the rapid and widespread dissemination of the variant, even among populations with high prior rates of coronavirus infection".
    ...
    https://www.reuters.com/business/hea...ge-2022-01-11/

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  • sharon sanders
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  • sharon sanders
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    I hope so! So sick of this......
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