What do we know about the Omicron epidemic after two weeks?

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Omicron may diminish the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccinations, but there is little data on this strain.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Omicron form of the coronavirus has been detected in 63 countries so far and will outstrip Delta in terms of spread speed. “Cases of human infections with this variation have been identified in 63 countries across all six WHO regions as of December 9, 2021,” the WHO stated in a statement.

 

According to early evidence, the Omicron form may diminish the efficiency of Covid-19 vaccinations, but it is less harmful than Delta, according to the UN health agency. Is Omicron rapidly spreading? Omicron looks to have a growth edge over Delta, according to the WHO. “It appears to spread quicker than the Delta variety in other nations where Delta incidence is high, such as the United Kingdom,” it stated. The reproduction rate of Omicron in Gauteng, where the outbreak is now centred, is over 3, meaning that each infected individual infects three more people on average. Cases in South Africa are increasing at an almost unprecedented rate, outpacing the country’s previous three waves.

 

Is Omicron rapidly spreading?

 

Omicron looks to have a growth edge over Delta, according to the WHO. “It appears to spread quicker than the Delta variety in other nations where Delta incidence is high, such as the United Kingdom,” it stated. The reproduction rate of Omicron in Gauteng, where the outbreak is now centred, is over 3, meaning that each infected individual infects three more people on average. Cases in South Africa are increasing at an almost unprecedented rate, outpacing the country’s previous three waves.

 

Omicron is 4.2 times more transmissible than delta, according to a Japanese study. According to Bloomberg, epidemiologist John Edmunds believes the mutant virus is spreading quicker in England than in South Africa, with cases in the UK potentially reaching 60,000 per day by Christmas.

 

Are infections life-threatening?

 

Doctors have documented Omicron patients with little more than weariness and headaches, in contrast to those afflicted with the Delta variety who had racing pulse rates and respiratory difficulties. According to the three largest private hospital operators in South Africa, the cases are substantially milder than in previous waves. Only a few people are on oxygen or ventilators, and there has been a minor increase in mortality.

 

“Data on the clinical severity of Omicron is currently scarce. While preliminary studies from South Africa suggest it may be less severe than Delta, and all instances reported in the EU/EEA so far have been mild or asymptomatic, it’s unknown how much Omicron is essentially less virulent. According to WHO, “further data is needed to understand the severity profile.”

 

Are immunizations effective against Omicron?

Omicron may mainly, but not totally, dodge the antibodies produced in reaction to the injection, according to research. This is backed up by a Pfizer study. “Preliminary evidence, as well as the significantly altered antigenic profile of the Omicron spike protein, suggests a decline in vaccine efficacy against Omicron infection and transmission,” WHO added. “Preliminary evidence suggests that the rate of reinfection has increased in South Africa, which could be linked to humoral (antibody-mediated) immune evasion,” the report continued. Furthermore, preliminary data from a few small studies has suggested that sera from vaccinated and previously infected people have lower neutralisation activity than any other circulating variety of concern or the ancestral strain.

 

Does it have a different impact on children?

 

In the first round of hospital admissions in South Africa, there were more children under the age of five than in prior years. Most people only stay in the hospital for a short time, and there have been no reports of respiratory issues, according to South African health minister Joe Phaahla.

 

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