“Omicron and delta are coming to your party,” the Democrat said at a news conference Monday. He urged people to “think twice” before attending social gatherings, adding that the situation is far from safe.
“January is going to be a really, really hard month. And people should just brace themselves for a month where lots of people are going to get infected,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.
The Covid-19 coronavirus seems to have upped its game with the Omicron variant. Does that mean that you need to up your face mask game as well? Will wearing traditional face masks be enough? Or do you now need to upgrade to N95 ones?
Airlines struggled to recover Monday from pockets of wintry weather and an omicron-driven surge in caseloads that triggered staffing shortages and another 1,200 flight cancellations.
Health care workers, already pushed to their limits, are bracing for an onslaught of Covid patients after the holiday season.
The more than 1.44 million worldwide infections smashed the prior record after factoring out a day in December 2020 when Turkey backdated a significant number of cases. A more conservative gauge — the seven-day rolling average that smooths out one-time fluctuations and holiday reporting irregularities — is also at an all-time high, owing to a tidal wave of omicron infections.
Even with a surge in cases and a scramble for more testing, a smaller percentage of infected people are winding up in the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms compared to earlier strains.
Dr. Craig Spencer, an emergency room doctor in New York, recently shared some anecdotal information about what’s been seen in the emergency room when it comes to COVID-19. Here’s what he found:
- Every patient who got a third booster COVID-19 vaccine shot had mild symptoms. This included sore throat, fatigue and muscle pain.
- Patients who had two doses of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines had mild symptoms but more than those who had three doses. He said there was more fatigue, more coughing and more miserable symptoms overall.
- Those who had one dose of Johnson & Johnson were worse, feeling horrible with a fever for a few days. Tiredness, weakness, shortness of breath and cough were also common COVID-19 symptoms for this group.
- Every patient that needed to be admitted was unvaccinated. The unvaccinated had “profound shortness of breath” and their “oxygen dropped when they walked,” he said. The unvaccinated needed “oxygen to breathe regularly,” he added.
D.C. experienced an average of 1,192 new cases per day over the past seven days, and 169 cases per 100,000 people as of Monday, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
The emergence of Omicron underscores the consequences of vaccine inequity. Experts say it will take more than donations to fix the problem.
The number of children with covid-19 recently hospitalized in New York City has increased by nearly five times this month, New York state officials said at a news conference Monday.
A Sydney laboratory has apologised after hundreds of people infected with COVID-19 were wrongly told they were in the clear.
The revelation came as authorities in both New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory made efforts to prioritise medically mandated testing at swamped testing centres.
Thousands of Germans took to the streets Monday evening to protest new coronavirus rules and potential vaccine mandates, with clashes breaking out.
To minimize disruptions as virus cases surge, the C.D.C. halved the recommended isolation period for infected Americans who show no symptoms, to five days. Dr. Anthony Fauci says a vaccination requirement should “seriously be considered” for air travel.
At the county level, vaccination rates range from about 83 percent in places like Montgomery County, Md., a populous area just outside Washington, D.C., to around 15 percent in rural places like McPherson County in northern South Dakota.
The Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 infects the kidneys and contributes to tissue scarring, as shown by researchers from the RWTH Uniklinik Aachen, Germany, and Radboudumc, The Netherlands. The developed scar tissue in the infected kidneys may suggest a possible impact on kidney outcomes in the long term.
Five of the department’s regional infusion centers have run out of sotrovimab, the only antibody treatment known to be effective against the new variant.
Official Reporting for December 28, 2021
World Health Organization
Weekly Epi Update December 21st (latest release)
New Cases: 455,944
Confirmed Cases: 280,119,931
Confirmed Cases: 281,992,357
Total cases: 52,280,337 (+164,644 New Cases)
Total deaths: 813,792 (+89 New Deaths)
Science and Tech
Can At-Home COVID Tests Detect the Omicron Variant? – NBC News
“It depends which antigen the test is trying to detect,” he said. “If it’s going after the nucleocapsid (an internal RNA-binding protein), it’s typically better because this viral protein is more conserved, meaning it mutates less than the spike protein.
If confirmed in follow-up research and if the diagnostics industry can pivot quickly enough, findings from a South African study could make COVID-19 testing a lot easier for patients and healthcare workers, as the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant becomes the dominant source of infection.
The U.S. government has paused distribution of Covid-19 monoclonal antibody treatments made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, saying those treatments are probably ineffective against the omicron variant.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
Despite rampant misinformation, Covid-19 has pushed science into the zeitgeist, as people have absorbed new words and how scientific discovery actually works. WHEN A HEALTH crisis strikes, people tend to get better at learning how to stay healthy. “We do perhaps become overall more sophisticated about what’s a risk and what to avoid,” says Allan Brandt, who teaches the history of medicine and public health at Harvard and has studied the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the tobacco industry’s misinformation campaigns about the risks of smoking.
Air Filters and Outdoor Spaces: Office Costs Rise as Workers Return Building owners may have saved on maintenance when their offices were dark, but new pandemic-related costs are being added to the bill. More robust air filtration and newly installed outdoor spaces are among the items that will add to developers’ costs when more employees return. New cleaning practices may make those services more expensive, and landlords are offering new amenities to lure tenants back.
SARS-CoV-2 infects the human kidney and drives fibrosis in kidney organoids – Cell
Association Between Immune Dysfunction and COVID-19 Breakthrough Infection After SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination in the US – JAMA
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
As Omicron Covid cases rise there is a rush for at-home test kits and Georgia officials warn that is an opening for scammers. Attorney General Chris Carr says “We urge all Georgians to be on the lookout for fraudulent COVID-19-related practices, specifically as it pertains to testing.”
Coping with COVID
What was better about 2021? For one thing, people finally emerged from their isolated pandemic cocoons and started connecting with others. Granted, the vast majority of the people who connected with us this year wanted to discuss our car’s extended warranty. But still.