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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Omicron is now the major strain of coronavirus in the US

By Travis Caldwell and Claire Colbert, CNN

(CNN) – Omicron’s Covid-19 variant is now the most dominant strain in the US, accounting for more than 73% of new coronavirus cases less than three weeks after they were first reported, according to the US Centers for Disease According to estimates posted on Monday. control and prevention.

It’s only been 20 days since the US detected its first case of Omicron.

For the week ended December 18, Omicron accounted for 73.2% of cases, with Delta accounting for an additional 26.6%. In the week before the end of December 11, Omicron estimated there were only 12.6% of circulating viruses, and in the first week of December, Omicron had about 1% of new cases.

The data shows that omicron is even more prevalent in some parts of the country – parts of the Northwest and Southeast make up more than 95% of the circulating virus.

As of Monday, 48 U.S. states have reported cases of Omicron, according to public statements from hospital systems and state officials, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. The only states that have not reported Omicron cases are Oklahoma and South Dakota.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that Omicron is “soon to be acquired” because of its highly infectious nature. The World Health Organization says that cases of omicrons are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days.

Health experts advance vaccines and boosters

With Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants spreading across the country as the new year draws to a close, health experts are urging Americans to get vaccinated or boosted to protect themselves and others before they face a higher chance of infection.

Airport visits before Christmas nearly doubled from a year earlier, with more than 2 million people screened each day from December 16-18, according to Transportation Security Administration data. And indoor gatherings between friends and family could eventually infect more people who are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications.

As the virus spreads, more cities are adding restrictions, including New York and Washington, DC.

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that an indoor mask mandate for the district would be reinstated from 6 a.m. Tuesday through Jan. 31.

The announcement comes as DC is experiencing its highest daily coronavirus case count since the start of the pandemic.

Bowser also said she plans to restore the district’s state of emergency and announced a six-part plan to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that the city is testing “more people than ever” for COVID-19 and that city officials are working with federal officials and the private sector to obtain more testing supplies. are. Officials are also working to get more in-home test kits to offer people as an alternative testing option.

De Blasio also spoke about the annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square.

Currently, the outdoor program is still ongoing and all guests must be fully vaccinated.

But de Blasio said city officials are reviewing plans for the event in light of Omicron and said any changes would be announced before Christmas.

Experts discuss what’s next

The outgoing director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Friday that the Omicron version could result in up to a million new cases a day.

Collins suggested that the impact of that level of spread on the already stressed health care system remains uncertain.

“The big question is, will those million cases be so ill that they will require health care, and especially hospitalization?” Collins said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” his last day as NIH director.

Covid-19 hospitalizations have increased over the past month as medical facilities in some parts of the country are flooded with patients infected with the delta variant. Now, the presence of Omicron – which scientists believe to be more contagious, although so far most cases appear to be mild – could push some strained health care systems to the brink.

“It’s quite likely that we’re going to see a significant strain on the hospital system as well as health care workers, in some parts of the country, who are getting tired of it all,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC this week. on Sunday, noting that a more transmissible form of COVID-19, such as Omicron, would have a greater impact on the millions of Americans who have not been vaccinated.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said that traveling and gathering for Christmas and New Years can be done safely between people who have been vaccinated, and in the arms of vaccinated Americans. Getting a booster shot is paramount to increasing the antibody response. ,

“If we’re going to successfully tackle Omicron, people who are vaccinated need to be promoted,” Fauci told NBC on Sunday.

According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, recent data are demonstrating the potential dangers of unvaccination, including a 10-fold higher risk of testing positive and a 20-fold higher risk of dying from COVID-19. October.

President Joe Biden prepares to meet with his COVID-19 response team on Monday. The White House said he would address the nation on Tuesday with Omicron about the latest developments and issue another “another warning about what winter will look like for Americans,” the White House said.

US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy told “CBS Mornings” anchor Tony Dokopil on Monday that while Omicron will see a surge in cases in the coming weeks, there will be a “great difference” in the experience of those who have been vaccinated and those who haven’t.

“In the coming weeks, Tony, we are going to see a spike in cases. And that’s because Omicron is incredibly permeable, and you know, we have to be prepared for that,” Murthy said. “But there will be a huge difference between the experience of people who have been vaccinated and those without vaccination.” are the ones.”

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Murthy said people who have maximum protection from vaccines and boosters will either not get the infection, or if they do, will be the mildest.

States Responding to Outbreaks

With Omicron being reported in nearly every US state and the delta still present, cases are on the rise in some areas.

New York – which was one of the hardest-hit states at the start of the pandemic – on Monday set a new record for single-day Covid-19 cases for the fourth consecutive day, registering a three-fold increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. Week according to Gov. Kathy Hochul.

According to a CNN health analysis, there is usually a lag of about three weeks between Covid-19 case trends and hospitalizations, but officials expect the state to be in a more favorable position than it was last year.

“This is not March of 2020, we are not defenseless,” Hochul said. “We have the tools to protect ourselves and the vulnerable loved ones in our families: get vaccinated, get boosters and wear masks when indoors or at large gatherings. Don’t take the chance during the winter boom. ,

According to Gov. Phil Murphy and Health Commissioner Judy Persicilli, New Jersey had its highest daily positive case count in nearly a year, with about 6,533 positive PCR tests; The statewide percentage-positivity rate is 12.11%. Still, the governor said hospitalizations are not increasing at the same rate as cases. The state on Monday reported that 1,902 people were currently hospitalized with COVID-19, much lower than the peak in April 2020, when 8,270 people reported hospitalisations.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said he would be “slightly hesitant” about moving to New York or New Jersey, given his state’s lower caseload right now. But he said that he does not want to impose any quarantine on those commuting from the Kovid-19 hotspot.

“I cannot enforce quarantine by anything. I’m not going to try and do that,” Lamont said.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that the state is preparing for a winter boom and looks forward to combating COVID-19, with state-issued home testing and flexing within hospitals. Beds are included. Sununu said that it is also important to bring in health care workers from other states.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan predicted that the state would see “probably the worst surge in our hospitals during the entire crisis” over the next three to five weeks, telling “Fox News Sunday” that officials are “trying to do everything”. We can get our last 9.2% of the population vaccinated.”

On Monday, Hogan announced in a tweet that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Hogan, who has been vaccinated and received a booster shot, said the test was part of her regular testing routine. The Republican governor’s announcement follows a string of lawmakers who have been fully vaccinated and tested positive for COVID-19.

Schools and sports are changing

The term of the conversation around COVID-19 could change in the coming weeks depending on whether hospitalizations or plateaus. Yet some universities and sports leagues are already working to reduce the potential spread.

Citing the “uncertainty” surrounding the Omicron edition, Stanford University announced that it is moving to online instruction for the first two weeks of the upcoming winter quarter, which is set to begin on January 3.

Harvard University is also moving to distance learning for the first three weeks of January classes, saying in an open letter that the move is “a rapid increase in local and nationwide COVID-19 cases as well as increasing attendance.” was inspired by. The highly permeable Omicron variant.”

The rising number of COVID-19 cases has forced the suspension of several major sports leagues. Seven NHL teams have been temporarily closed as of Sunday, and the league and its players’ union announced that games requiring cross-border travel between the US and Canada will be postponed through Christmas.

Five NBA games have been postponed as several teams in the league are under COVID-19 health and safety protocols. More than a dozen games in NCAA men’s basketball have been canceled or postponed.

And the NFL delayed three of its Sunday games and updated its COVID-19 testing procedures, which will no longer call for close contact with players to test asymptomatic, fully vaccinated players, coaches and other staff . According to a copy of the protocol obtained by CNN, all individuals will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the team facilities.

Moderna: Data shows large booster dose boosts antibodies

Biotechnology company Moderna announced Monday that preliminary data showed its half-dose booster shot showed increased levels of antibodies against Omicron when a fully vaccinated person did not receive a booster — but a booster. A large dose of the drug increases the antibody levels even more. ,

Currently, Moderna’s booster is administered as a 50-microgram dose. The company’s announcement said that its 50-microgram booster dose increased antibody levels 37-fold and a 100-microgram booster dose increased antibody levels by 83-fold compared to levels seen before the booster.

It’s not clear what these increases mean, as far as how booster doses work against Omicron clinically.

“The dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases is concerning for everyone, from the Omicron version. However, these data suggest that the currently authorized Moderna COVID-19 booster can deliver neutralizing antibody levels 37 times higher than pre-boost levels, is reassuring,” Moderna CEO Stefan Bansel said in the company’s announcement.

The-CNN-Wire™ and © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., WarnerMedia Co. All rights reserved.

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