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A Lung Doctor broke down the Omicron variant in 5 minute Video.
Philip Ellis 6 hours ago 11 28 2021- 5 PM
The B.11.529 variant of the coronavirus first identified in South Africa, also known as the Omicron variant, has been described as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization. In a new video on his YouTube channel, Pulmonary medicine and critical care specialist Dr. Mike Hansen summarizes how this strain of Covid differs from previous versions, and the risk it poses to public health.
The Omicron variant of the virus has more than 30 mutations in its spike protein, which Hansen explains could make it more contagious, could cause more severe infection in patients, and could be resistant to vaccines. None of this has been determined yet, however. There were similar concerns surrounding the Delta variant, against which the vaccines proved effective.
"We've seen a lot of variants pop up over the last eight months or so, and most of them, for example Lambda, have not amounted to much," says Hansen. "And they're detected because scientists are constantly running surveillance on Covid. But here we are with a new one, and it has a special level of concern, not only because it has more mutations in the spike protein, but also because some of those mutations are the same mutations as the other four variants of concern."
He adds that we won't know how the variant interacts with vaccines until a few weeks have passed. So far, however, studies indicate that Omicron is much faster-spreading than the Delta variant and carries a higher risk of reinfection.
[Right now, Delta Virus is causing many infections among unvaccinated people in multiple states and the ICU’s including where Dr. Hansen works are filled by patients affected by te Delta Variant. In US only 59% of population has been vaccinated and less than 25% of South African People are vaccinated, this may be true in the 7 neighboring nations which might have contributed to the rapid spread of the Variant. We must in both our countries heed the advice of President C. Ramaphosa of South Africa- The first, the most powerful, tool we have is vaccination.” This Delta Variant dominated Pandemic continues to be an illness of the Unvaccinated. Those who are unvaccinated must be encouraged to get their vaccinations, including children 5 to 18 and adults who have received both their doses must be encouraged to get boosters before the winter whether or NOT the Omicron Variant finds a foothold in the USA or elsewhere. Perhaps like the Beta variant B.1.351, the Omicron B.11.529 variant we can hope while we get busy on vaccination campaign, this Omicron will not change the trajectory of the spread of the Covid-19 in the USA, adversely.VM]
"If Omicron does render our vaccines useless, that would basically mean we would be experiencing a whole new pandemic again, a whole other 2020, unless these vaccines are quickly tweaked for the new variant," he says. "That's why you have these vaccine makers jumping on this right now."
South Africa, whose scientists detected Omicron, is an outlier on the least vaccinated continent.
By Declan Walsh and Lynsey Chutel
- Nov. 28, 2021Updated 3:33 p.m. ET
On the face of it, the emergence of the Omicron variant is the unhappy fulfillment of expert predictions that the failure to prioritize vaccinations for African countries would allow the coronavirus to continue to circulate and mutate there, imperiling the world’s ability to move beyond the pandemic.
As Western nations kept most of the global vaccine supply for themselves, African countries were denied access to doses or could not afford them. Around 10 percent of people in Africa have received one dose of a vaccine, compared with 64 percent in North America and 62 percent in Europe.
But the problem is changing shape. In recent weeks, vaccines have started to flow into Africa, and the new challenge is how to rapidly scale up vaccinations — as South Africa demonstrates.
“We haven’t completely overcome the problem of vaccine supply to lower-income countries,” said Shabir Madhi, a virologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. “But where they are available, countries are struggling to scale up.”
Scientists in South Africa, which has the most sophisticated genomic sequencing facilities on the continent, were the first to announce the detection of the new variant, after it was found in four people in Botswana.
South Africa has a better vaccination rate than most countries on the continent: Just under one-quarter of the population has been fully vaccinated, and the government said it has over five months’ worth of doses in its stores. But they are not being administered fast enough.
Vaccinations in South Africa are running at about half the target rate, officials said last week. To prevent vaccines from expiring, the government has even deferred some deliveries scheduled for early next year.
In a briefing on Sunday to announce the country’s response to the new variant, President Cyril Ramaphosa said his cabinet was considering making vaccines mandatory for specific locations and activities. Before enforcing the new rules, though, a task team will investigate “a fair and sustainable approach.”
In a country where vaccines are free, this was a more desirable approach than imposing additional lockdown restrictions as he said that new virus infections in general more than tripled in a week. Masks remain mandatory in public, and a curfew is in place from midnight to 4 a.m.
“We know enough about the variant to know what we need to do to reduce transmission and to protect ourselves against severe disease and death,” said Mr. Ramaphosa. “The first, the most powerful, tool we have is vaccination.”
But the problem is not just a product of the misinformation-driven hesitancy that has plagued vaccination efforts in the West. In fact, some studies suggest it’s a small part of the problem in South Africa.
Instead, the inoculation campaign has been slowed by a complex range of logistical, financial, and even political issues. And Western actions are partly to blame.
Many African countries lack the cold storage facilities or logistics chains for a large-scale vaccination campaign. Dilapidated health systems mean a lack of clinics or qualified personnel to administer vaccines.
With Western countries hogging vaccine supplies for most of this year, and doses from India halted as cases surged in there, many African countries have relied on donations. But some of those vaccines have landed close to their expiration date, giving countries a narrow window in which to safely deliver them.
And many Africans are constrained by time and money. They may lack the bus fare to reach a distant vaccination center — or be reluctant to stand in line for hours if there’s a risk of missing work or losing a job.
Misinformation and cultural factors matter, too. Africa has a long history of vaccinating young children against diseases like polio, but a mass vaccination drive among adults is “very, very unusual” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s Africa director, told reporters last week.
Even nurses and doctors are prone to believing false tales of dangerous side effects: Recent studies in Ghana and Ethiopia found that fewer than 50 percent of health workers intend to get vaccinated, Dr. Moeti said.
In South Africa, race is a factor: Researchers at the University of Johannesburg found that white people were more vaccine hesitant than Black people — but were more likely to have been inoculated because they had access to better health care.
The race to vaccinate Africans is progressing. In the past eight weeks, 30 African countries have administered 80 percent of doses received, according to the World Health Organization. Only Djibouti and the Democratic Republic of Congo administered fewer than 20 percent of doses received.
Still, there is a long way to go. So far, wealthy countries have delivered just 14 percent of the 1.7 billion doses promised to low- and middle-income countries by next September, according to data collated by Our World in Data, a project at Oxford University.
And no matter how quickly those doses arrive, experts say African countries need support to help get them into people’s arms.
In Kenya this month, the Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken outlined measures to help Kenyans overcome such “last mile” obstacles through the Global Covid Corps, a new public-private partnership aimed at overcoming logistical and delivery hurdles. As fear of the new variant spreads, the sense of urgency around such programs is likely to grow.
Declan Walsh is the Chief Africa correspondent. He was previously based in Egypt, covering the Middle East, and in Pakistan. He previously worked at the Guardian and is the author of The Nine Lives of Pakistan. @declanwalsh
Understand the Omicron Variant
- What We Know: It’s still unclear how effective vaccines will be against Omicron, and experts say it’s too early to tell if the variant only causes mild illness.
- Do Travel Bans Work?: As the Omicron variant circles the globe, some experts say travel bans may do more harm than good.
- Tracking the Variants: Here’s what we know about how variants have spread in the pandemic.
- How Omicron Got Its Name: The W.H.O. began naming the variants after Greek letters to avoid public confusion and stigma.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says we should do 8 things to deal with Omicron variant
[email protected] Rebecca Cohen and Hillary Brueck 7 hours ago- 11 30 21- 11 PM
Dr. Anthony Fauci listed eight steps that people should take in their daily lives to address the Omicron variant.
In a Tuesday briefing with the White House's COVID-19 response team, Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — said existing pandemic measures should work against the newly detected variant.
Fauci recommended the following steps to protect against the Omicron variant:
- Get vaccinated against COVID-19.
- If you're already vaccinated, get a booster shot.
- Use masks.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Gather outdoors when possible.
- Socially distance from others.
- Get tested.
- Isolate from others if you test positive for COVID-19.
Video: Full Fauci Interview: 'We really need to be prepared' for Omicron Covid transmission (NBC News)
"These things we have been doing, we need to keep doing them," Fauci said.
South Africa first reported the variant to the World Health Organization on November 24. It has since been identified in 20 countries, Fauci said.
"Confirmed cases, as of yesterday, was 205 in 18 countries. And just this morning, that's gone up to 226 in 20 countries," Fauci said.
Fauci said the variant's mutations suggested it could be able to dodge some of the body's immune defenses but added that scientists were still learning about it.
It's "very difficult to know" whether the variant will be associated with more severe disease, he said.
Read the original article on Business Insider
Omicron variant, Capua: “More mutations will arrive, it is not said to be the worst” – Latest from the world (alwaysfreshnews.com) [Key Message from Preeminent Professor Ilaria Capua, Director of the One Health Center of Excellence for Research and Training, University of Florida, USA VM]
The Omicron variant of the covid? “I have said many times that this virus will not go away, I have repeated it, even with great frustration and regret, but it is. There is nothing surprising in what is happening, it has happened with other pandemics and other diseases infectious.
I do not understand the surprise. We know that the more the virus circulates in unvaccinated populations, the more variants are possible. We know that in Africa the vaccination coverage rate is very low, that some variants will give us a hard time, that the latter may not necessarily be among them.[Vaccination rate in South Africa- 25%. But they report they have enough stock of Vaccines.VM]
Before frightening people and raising the alarm that I perceive, we need to analyze Omicron and make many assessments. Europeans must realize that the only tool we have is the vaccine “. Virologist Ilaria Capua, head of the One Health Center at the University of Florida, says this in an interview with the press.
On the precautions to be taken, she warns: “Anxiety and fear are useless, the only things we need are what we know. Respect safety distances, avoid crowded places without protection, especially if you are not vaccinated, do not keep everyone close, and raise the vaccination wall as much as possible, which is the most appropriate tool to manage the moment we are living “[.Prof Capua has shared information at sit down interviews. VM
Virus Expert Just Issued This New Variant Warning by Alek Korab, NOVEMBER 30, 2021
Dr. Michael Osterholm Ph.D., MPH., begs you to [get vaccinated and get boosters] give you a fighting chance against Omicron. He is Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy
Professor, Technological Leadership Institute
…It's important to note that, as these travel bans were put into place early on, it was with the idea that we would just try to slow things down, to give us more time to respond to and plan," said Osterholm of travel restrictions from Africa which went into place Monday in America. "I think, as you're seeing just in a matter of less than a week, how fast this is around the world, you know, when it's in 50 different countries, including the United States, is everybody going to ban everybody from travel? I don't think so.
Number one: So, I think the really important message is, is that yes, we should be vaccinated if we're going to travel.
Number two is that we have an active testing program so that people can be screened before they get on the planes. And once they get to their point of destination and that we keep track of these people—if they should have this variant, again, our whole entire effort here is to slow down the transmission. We're not going to stop it. And I think that within a month from now, this is going to be with us in a way that we couldn't have imagined two weeks ago."
Vaccinations and boosters help. "The problem we have is that some people even with the boosters will only have limited protection. For example, our studies show that for those who are solid organ recipients, people will receive donations of kidneys and other organs have only about 50% protection against severe disease and death with this virus, which means that they can do everything possible in terms of vaccination, but it's still going to be important to protect them as a bubble of the people around them," said Osterholm. "And we have other what we call 'comorbidities,' conditions, where, the vaccine is not going to be as effective as it is for otherwise healthy individuals. So, in those family settings, it's very reasonable for them to say, I only want people here who are fully vaccinated. I only want people here who are, who have their boosters that are eligible to receive them because I'm trying to do an additional layer of protection beyond that, of just the vaccine itself. And I think we have to honor those and we have to help support families do that. Even when you have family members who you love, who you want to be with, who, but insist, they're never going to get vaccinated." So get your vaccine or booster if you're eligible and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID. 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID — Eat This Not That
Velandy Manohar, MD. Med. Director, CT. Aware Recovery Care.