Omicron variant doubles US COVID-19 cases but is less severe than Delta strain

FILE PHOTO: Anthony Fauci talks about the coronavirus Omicron variant at the White House in Washington December 1, 2021 (Reuters/Kevin Lamarck)

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States and its strength in infection has caused new cases to increase by 60% in a week, although Authorities insist it is less severe than the Delta strain And they defend it Reduce periods of isolation.

An average of 240,400 injuries in just 7 days, with an increase in hospitalizations by 14% and deaths by 7%, This is the updated data for this country that still exists Roughly 40% of its population is not immune.

And while the numbers aren’t encouraging at the moment, The chief epidemiologist in the government headed by Joe Biden, Anthony Fauci, this Wednesday dared to be more optimistic than on other occasions.

Thus, Fauci expressed confidence that within a few months the epidemic would reach a “transmission” that would lead to Living with the virus while keeping it “under control”, so COVID-19 is still there, but without “disturbing” society or the economy as it has so far.

Anyway, Fauci insisted that the coronavirus, especially Omicron variant ‘highly transmissible’ And “everyone” across the country is “now watching” this level of infection.

But it also highlights the many studies done so far that show this This variant is “less dangerous” than delta, cited as an example reports that show Less lung damage from the omicron than its predecessor.

People queue to get tested for COVID-19 in New York (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)
People queue to get tested for COVID-19 in New York (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)

Fauci asked however Don’t let your guard down so as not to over-strain some of the hospital areas already in this country, which are the hardest hit by the pandemic and which have a much lower vaccination rate than other large economies.

For this reason, health authorities once again insisted on demanding vaccination and also Ask those who have already been vaccinated to put the “primary” booster, According to Fauci, to provide the necessary protection against the new variant.

Vaccine boosters are returning those who wear them to the “optimal” level of protection needed, said Biden’s chief epidemiologist. He didn’t want to speculate that a fourth injection would be needed.

As for reporters’ questions about this possibility, Fauci advocated going “step by step” and although he admitted that this fourth dose might be necessary later, he has now insisted that Focus on getting a third vaccination or vaccinating those who haven’t already.

Five days is enough

A sign 'boarding masks required' appears at a gate at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Reuters/Ilia Novell)
A sign ‘boarding masks required’ appears at a gate at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Reuters/Ilia Novell)

Thursday’s appearance comes just two days after the CDC recommended Shortening the quarantine period for COVID-19 patients without symptoms from ten to five days.

The decision was made on the pretext that most infections occur at the onset of the disease, On the first and second days of the onset of symptoms and two or three days later.

Encore, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, in English), Rochelle Walinsky, defended this decision, which was not widely debated, among other things because it was issued after the request of various economic sectors – such as airlines – Reducing quarantine periods due to the increase in infections among its infected members.

The losses were exactly the reason companies gave to explain Thousands of flights have been canceled or delayed in recent days.

After remembering that the level of transmission is very high in the two days prior to the onset of symptoms and between two to three days after that, He emphasized that “five days” after the last symptoms appeared, there was a risk of infection.fall down big“.

He also considered it unnecessary to conduct further tests from that moment on, because as he warned There are cases when the PCR test is positive for up to 12 weeks after infection, and this does not mean that the affected person is contagious.

Federal aid to the states

People wearing masks attend a Catholic mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, New York (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)
People wearing masks attend a Catholic mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, New York (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)

Given the rapid spread of infection, the Biden government last week took extraordinary measures to confront this new phase, and on Thursday, the White House response team coordinator, Jeff Zents, insisted on sending a message to state governments: “If you need something, ask for it”.

Thus he noted that FEMA has sent staff and resources to various states, such as New York. —Medical centers, ambulances and testing — Arizona, New Mexico, and Wisconsin, among others.

The government expects that the $500 million antigen testing contract that President Joe Biden has promised to help address the surge in cases will be completed by the end of next week. Jeff Zents, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said that the manufacturers’ shipments will begin in January.

(With information from EFE and Reuters)

Read on:

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Omicron cases fall as fast as they rose in South Africa: has the wave crest passed?
Spain reduced mandatory quarantine from 10 to 7 days for positive cases of COVID-19

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