As COVID-19 infections with the omicron variant of the virus surge out of control nationwide, emergency rooms are filling up again — and one well-known New York City doctor says what they’re seeing now is much different than the last two years of the pandemic.
The rapid surge of omicron infections in the United States may be relatively brief, measured in weeks rather than months, according to infectious-disease experts who have been astonished by the speed of the coronavirus variant’s spread — and who are hoping this wave ebbs just as quickly.
A string of new studies has confirmed the silver lining of the omicron variant: Even as case numbers soar to records, the numbers of severe cases and hospitalizations have not. The data, some scientists say, signal a new, less worrying chapter of the pandemic.
The speed of this Covid-19 surge led large districts like Atlanta, Detroit, and Prince George’s County in Maryland to adopt remote instruction just days before the beginning of the second semester, often leaving parents little time to readjust schedules.
Unvaccinated pregnant woman infected with both viruses is released from hospital in good condition; health officials say there may be many similar cases
Experts at the IHU Mediterranee Infection in Marseille say they discovered the new variant back in December in 12 patients living near Marseille, with the first patient testing positive after traveling to the central African nation of Cameroon. The French scientists said they have identified 46 mutations in the new variant, dubbed B.1.640.2, that could make it more resistant to vaccines and more infectious than the original virus.
Dozens of researchers, including myself, worked for years to uncover that swine flu had leapt to humans from a pig in Mexico in 2009. We learned a lot about influenza evolution, pig farming, and outbreak risk along the way.
Pfizer Inc. said the U.S. government has agreed to buy an additional 10 million courses of its Covid-19 pill, adding to the country’s stash of virus-fighting tools as infections continue to rise.
The U.S. has reported a record single-day number of daily Covid cases, with more than 1 million new infections. A total of 1,082,549 new coronavirus cases were reported Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as the highly infectious omicron variant continues to spread throughout the country and beyond.
Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson: Ask any American, and they’ll likely be able to rattle off the trio of COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S.
Gov. Larry Hogan declared a 30-day state of emergency that mobilizes the National Guard to assist state and local health officers at testing and vaccine sites and authorizes the state Department of Health to take steps to increase staffing at overwhelmed hospitals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on Tuesday that Americans who received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine seek a booster shot five months after the second shot, and not wait six months, as earlier guidance had said.
A fourth shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine generated a fivefold boost in antibodies a week after the jab, according to preliminary results of a study made public by the Israeli government Tuesday. The finding offers one of the first looks at how effective a second booster shot might be at reducing the harm of the omicron variant spreading rapidly around the globe.
The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of a Pfizer-BioNTech booster in adolescents 12 to 15 years old. The agency on Monday also shortened the time between the completion of primary vaccination of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and a booster dose to five months from six.
As mRNA vaccines saturate the U.S. market, is there room for another?
Hong Kong will start giving out Covid-19 booster shots to all adults from Jan. 1 following studies around the world that two doses of any vaccine are inadequate to fight the more infectious omicron variant.
In March and April of 2020 — months before Sullivan caught COVID-19 — Columbia University Medical Center in New York City was full of COVID-19 patients. There, endocrinologist Utpal Pajvani noticed that “a lot of those people — but not a majority — were coming in with very high blood sugars. For some of those people, this was brand new for them.”
Official Reporting for January 4, 2022
World Health Organization
Weekly Epi Update December 28th (latest release)
New Cases: 1,276,532
Confirmed Cases: 290,959,019
Confirmed Cases: 293,586,768
Total cases: 53,795,407 (+486,428 New Cases)
Total deaths: 820,355 (+1,539 New Deaths)
Science and Tech
The new Omicron variant of the pandemic coronavirus has provided an avalanche of mutations, many never seen before, for scientists to ponder. And as with earlier variants, Omicron researchers are focused on numerous changes to the spike protein, which studs the surface of SARS-CoV-2 and allows it to latch on to and invade human cells.
Infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 can trigger an immune response that lasts well beyond the initial infection and recovery—even among people who had mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, according to Cedars-Sinai investigators. The findings are published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.
Colchicine (Colcrys) didn’t benefit patients hospitalized with moderate to severe COVID-19-related pneumonia, researchers found in the COLCOVID randomized trial.
The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has spread around the globe at unprecedented speed. Neither prior infection nor multiple vaccinations impede transmission. One hope was that early treatment with monoclonal antibodies for those most susceptible to serious disease would reduce hospitalization and death. Unfortunately, Omicron has proved to be resistant to most FDA-approved monoclonal antibody treatments.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has differential effects according to age, with symptomatic and severe infections mostly occurring in older adults. One possible explanation for this variation is that children and younger adults have more preexisting immunity against seasonal human coronaviruses (HCoVs) that cross-react with SARS-CoV-2, providing protection from severe and even symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
The social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are harming mental health and well‑being. News of fast-spreading variants of the virus SARS-CoV-2 underscores the urgency of building population resilience to further damage.
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
A year ago it seemed reasonable to hope that by early 2022 we’d mainly be talking about Covid — or at least Covid as a major health and quality-of-life issue — in the past tense. Effective vaccines had been developed with miraculous speed; surely a sophisticated nation like the United States would find a way to get those vaccines quickly and widely distributed.
Coping with COVID