Even if enough people build natural immunity to COVID-19 by catching the highly contagious omicron variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci said it is too soon to say if this will spell an end to the pandemic. Related: Fauci says it’s still an ‘open question’ whether omicron spells Covid endgame-CNBC
The fast-moving omicron variant may cause less severe disease on average, but COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are climbing and modelers forecast 50,000 to 300,000 more Americans could die by the time the wave subsides in mid-March.
With the arrival of vaccines, compassion for COVID deaths began to dry up, sometimes replaced by scorn.
Los Angeles County on Monday reported more than 31,500 new coronavirus cases — marking a nearly tenfold increase from the number of new cases tallied a month ago and offering a stark reminder of the lasting power of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Japan’s confirmed daily coronavirus cases on Tuesday topped 30,000 for the first time, surpassing the previous record of 25,992 registered in August last year, a Kyodo News tally showed, prompting more prefectural governments to seek quasi-emergency measures to stem the spread of the Omicron variant.
Australia has recorded a total of 77 COVID-19-related deaths this Tuesday, marking the pandemic’s peak in the country since it broke out.
After months of public health experts urging Americans to start wearing higher quality masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday updated its mask guidance for consumers. While the agency didn’t recommend one type of mask over another, its new guidance emphasizes that N95s and similar high-filtration respirators offer the best protection against COVID-19.
“In the ideal world — or pre-pandemic — many masks were really viewed as single-use,” said Michael G. Knight, an assistant professor of medicine at George Washington University. “The reality is they do have a little bit more length in the amount of time we can use them.”
Starting Jan. 19, Americans will be able to order free at-home COVID-19 test kits from the government, in the Biden Administration’s ongoing effort to curb the latest, record-breaking coronavirus surge.
Israel will continue to offer a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot despite preliminary findings that it is not enough to prevent Omicron infections, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, predicting contagions stoked by the variant will wane in a week.
“Our goal is to be able to have a single annual booster so that we don’t have compliance issues where people don’t want to get two to three shots a winter,” The combined vaccine will also aim to defend against RSV, a common respiratory virus, giving people broader protection in one dose ahead of the winter without needing multiple shots.
For some it may be difficult to eat or drink because everything tastes “like poo and rotten eggs.” This may be because they are suffering from parosmia – a disorder where people experience strange and often unpleasant smell distortions.
“Autopsy studies indicate that SARS-CoV-2 affects multiple organs beyond the respiratory tract, including the heart, brain, and kidneys,” wrote lead author Elina Larissa Petersen, a cardiology specialist at the University Heart and Vascular Center in Hamburg, Germany, and colleagues. “Some patients continue to suffer from heterogeneous symptoms after the acute phase of critical illness. These conditions are described as ‘post-COVID-19 syndrome’ or—if symptoms continue longer than six months—as ‘long COVID-19 syndrome’. Clinical, imaging, or laboratory findings should accompany the diagnosis of post- or long COVID-19.”
Many people around the world kicked off 2022 by searching for more information about “flurona,” after Israel reported that two young pregnant women had tested positive for both the coronavirus and the flu.
A laboratory study that used samples from 23 people infected with the omicron variant in November and December found that while those who previously caught the delta variant could contract omicron, those who get the omicron strain couldn’t be infected with delta, particularly if they have been vaccinated, the researchers said. Results among the unvaccinated were unclear, as was whether they had been previously infected.
Official Reporting for January 18, 2022
World Health Organization
Weekly Epi Update January 18th (latest release)
New Cases: 1,586,889
Confirmed Cases: 328,532,929
Confirmed Cases: 331,634,566
Total cases: 65,159,554 (+874,087 New Cases)
Total deaths: 847,577 (+2,596 New Deaths)
Science and Tech
Since joining NIH, I’ve held a number of different leadership positions. But there is one position that thankfully has remained constant for me: lab chief. I run my own research laboratory at NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). My lab studies a biochemical process called O-glycosylation. It’s fundamental to life and fascinating to study. Our cells are often adorned with a variety of carbohydrate sugars. O-glycosylation refers to the biochemical process through which these sugar molecules, either found at the cell surface or secreted, get added to proteins. The presence or absence of these sugars on certain proteins plays fundamental roles in normal tissue development and first-line human immunity. It also is associated with various diseases, including cancer.
Lions and pumas at a zoo in the South African capital of Pretoria got severe Covid-19 from asymptomatic zoo handlers, raising concerns that new variants could emerge from animal reservoirs of the disease, studies carried out by a local university showed.
Hong Kong, suspecting that imported hamsters may have spread Covid-19 to humans, ordered the culling of thousands of the small mammals, closed shops selling them and sent more than 100 pet shop visitors into quarantine camp as part of its increasingly fervent quest to eliminate the virus.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
Members of the San Diego Vaccine Hunters Facebook group, were exposed to COVID over the holidays, and paid for testing out of pocket. At-home antigen test kits were sold out and free appointments were booked for weeks, and they needed to know if they had either infected grandparents or were clear to celebrate the new year with relatives.
Panic! at the Lymph Node: SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Responses – Nature
The UGT2A1/UGT2A2 locus is associated with COVID-19-related loss of smell or taste – Nature
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
Coping with COVID