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New Omicron: likely to be bad.
https://twitter.com/twenseleers/status/1466501989500653568?s=21

Regarding Omicron: analysis in South Africa is showing hyper exponential growth, in both cases and hospitalization. 6x the growth of Delta, but delta was held back in SA because everyone has been exposed there. Basically we’re back to what it looked like before the boosters because omicron is escaping immunity. There’s already community transmission (a case in MN came from NY, not overseas) and with the hospitals already clogged in MI this could get really bad where I am. Treat it like the beginning of the pandemic and stay the hell away from high spreading areas like restaurants.

One other note: this one seems to go after 5yo and under as much as over 60.
Regards,
-scott
Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson.
New We're still looking at changes in small numbers.
There's a wide variety of expert (and not so expert) opinion on this on Twitter. Much of it is educated guessing, and some are much farther out ahead of the evidence than others. We'll see who's the better extrapolator in a few weeks/months.

Yes, exponential growth is worrying, but there are lots of things to keep in mind.

1) The first reported cases in Hong Kong were fully vaccinated and asymptomatic even though they supposedly had a high viral load in their PCR results. The Twitter thread says that only 24% of SA is vaccinated, and we have good evidence that vaccination is much more protective than survival from a previous COVID infection (at least in the case of Delta). Fauci said the first US case was fully vaccinated, had a mild case, and was already recovering by the time of the press conference.

2) SA daily case numbers are very low compared to those in western Europe and the USA. We're looking at changes in relatively small numbers.

3) It takes on average 2 weeks to go from symptoms to results of sequencing in the USA (story in STATNews) - we're always looking at old data. We'll know much more by January 1 than we do now and early extrapolations can and often are off by quite a bit.

4) Vaccinations, boosters, masking, distancing all still work. We'll know more in a few weeks whether the mRNA vaccines and boosters need to be adjusted. As with Delta, we have to assume that the unvaccinated are at high risk.

All that said, we need to pay attention to this variant, and if ramped up fear helps drive vaccination and booster take-up, and more rapid sequencing systems so that we're not flying blind for 2+ weeks, then that's a good thing.

My $0.02.

Cheers,
Scott.
New Helen Branswell at STATNews.
STATNews:

As the world waits for studies that give a clear picture of the Omicron variant, early clinical data emerging from South Africa hint at a virus that may cause less severe cases of Covid-19.

The South African Medical Research Council posted a report Saturday of the early experiences at several hospitals in Gauteng Province, where Omicron was first spotted in the country. Strikingly, most hospitalized patients who tested positive for Covid did not need supplemental oxygen. Few developed Covid pneumonia, few required high-level care, and fewer still were admitted to intensive care.

Experts caution against reading too much into these early reports, which are based on small numbers of patients. They suggest it will take time for the true profile of the Omicron variant to come into focus. But several note that while early discussions about previous variants of concern have hinged on trying to figure out whether they caused more severe disease, with Omicron the questions relate to whether it is associated with milder infections.

The report included an analysis of 42 Covid patients in the hospital on Dec. 2 which showed that most were actually hospitalized for other medical reasons; their infections were only detected because hospitals are testing all incoming patients for Covid. Many did not have respiratory symptoms. And the average length of hospital stay was 2.8 days, far shorter than the average of 8.5 days recorded in the region over the past 18 months, the report said.

[...]


Much more at the link.

(Branswell's been covering nasty infectious diseases like Ebola and Marberg for decades.
She's very level-headed.)

Fingers crossed!

Cheers,
Scott.
New read that the mutations look like cold virus snippets slipped in
theorizing is the a person with aids/HIV may have had both with a damaged immune system. That may explain the ease of the spread and the lessened symptoms. Will have to wait and see and stay the hell away from people.
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman
     Omicron: likely to be bad. - (malraux) - (3)
         We're still looking at changes in small numbers. - (Another Scott)
         Helen Branswell at STATNews. - (Another Scott)
         read that the mutations look like cold virus snippets slipped in - (boxley)

Coming soon to an LRPD near you.
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