COVID Cases Spike as Questions Remain About Omicron’s Threat


Dec. 17, 2021 — Top infectious illness officers anticipate a surge of COVID-19 circumstances after the vacations and say Omicron will quickly take over because the dominant pressure within the United States.

The finest option to keep protected is by getting vaccinated and boosted, they are saying.

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“For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death — for yourselves, families, and the hospitals who may soon overwhelm,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients mentioned at a information briefing Friday. “We need the American people to do their part.”

The Omicron variant has been detected in not less than 39 states and 75 international locations, in line 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 triggered extra gentle illness, she mentioned that’s probably as a result of a lot of these contaminated have been vaccinated and boosted.

“Although Delta continues to circulate widely in the United States, Omicron is increasing rapidly and we expect it to become the dominant strain in the United States, as it has in other countries, in the coming weeks,” Walensky mentioned.

The U.S. is averaging near 1,300 deaths from COVID-19 every day. New circumstances, deaths, and hospitalizations are increased now than within the earlier winter — earlier than vaccines had been so broadly out there. The New York Times reported Friday that new infections in Connecticut and Maine have grown 150% prior to now 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 research from South Africa launched Tuesday reveals 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 United Kingdom, where Imperial College London reported Friday that the danger of re-infection with COVID-19 from Omicron is greater than 5 occasions as excessive and that circumstances of Omicron-based COVID-19 are doubling each 2 days.

What’s extra, the research “finds no evidence of Omicron having lower severity than Delta, judged by either the proportion of people testing positive who report symptoms, or by the proportion of cases seeking hospital care after infection. However, hospitalization data remains very limited at this time,” researchers mentioned.

“We have no evidence that the virus itself is more mild,” Eric Topol, MD, govt vp of Scripps Research and editor-in-chief of Medscape, WebMD’s sister web site for well being care professionals, instructed PBS NewsHour. “Until we have that, we have to assume that people who don’t have any protection are highly vulnerable to getting very ill.”

The White House COVID-19 staff continues to induce dad and mom 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 protection dialogue about COVID-19 vaccinations in youngsters.

So far, 20 million youngsters underneath 17 and 5 million underneath 11 have acquired their photographs.

“Looking specifically at vaccine safety data from over 50,000 children 5-11 years old, we found no evidence of serious safety concerns,” Walensky mentioned.

Top infectious illness professional 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 situation where we are now facing a very important Delta surge and we are looking over our shoulder at an oncoming Omicron surge,” he mentioned. “The optimum protection is fully vaccinated plus a boost.”

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