Against the backdrop of the rapid tsunami of Omicron, there is more and more understanding than its spread threatens the world. The news is both bad and encouraging.
All of us, along with scientists and politicians, are trying to understand what the emergence of a new strain of coronavirus means for our lives.
Restrictions are tightening in European countries and parts of the UK. Some take action immediately, others are compassionate postpone for the post-holiday period, emphasizing that they are inevitable. New information comes in almost every day. Among the news – both alarming and positive moments, says Air force…
It is natural for a person to forget the bad, therefore, against the background of existing restrictions, many do not think – after all, last year they were much more stringent. Many could not celebrate Christmas with their families, go to church, or take advantage of the long weekend to go on vacation. The spread of the alpha strain late last year led to a November lockdown and prolonged isolation during the New Year period as the vaccination campaign had just begun. Today’s rules are much softer than last year’s.
Research by scientists around the world suggests that Omicron is not as aggressive as Delta. The likelihood that the infected will be hospitalized is about 30-70% less. He calls cold-like symptoms – headache, runny nose, sore throat. Recently, another characteristic feature has been discovered – skin rash…
But a mild course of the disease is not provided for everyone, some of us can tolerate it rather hard. Primarily asymptomatic or with mild manifestations, those who have had previous alpha coronavirus or fully vaccinated, that is, the immunity is ready to meet the aggressor and actively opposes him.
But the concern is that Omicron is spreading too quickly, that is, many more people will be infected. In addition, the new mutation often bypasses the immune defenses. The rapidly growing daily number of infected people in the world, including in Greece, proves that the seriousness of the omicron is underestimated.
Another aspect that still raises only questions is what will happen in case of mass infection of the elderly with a new strain. Now his target in the UK is the age group under 40, they are the ones who end up in hospitals with serious forms of the disease. Experts so far only speculate, but, given the ability of the omicron to bypass the immune defense, they admit the likelihood of infection in a larger number of elderly people than with the dominance of the Delta variant.
A big problem arose against the background of the fact that the two previously received vaccinations did not provide adequate protection against the new strain, so a massive revaccination began in all countries. In the UK, more than 31 million people have already received the third dose, boosting immune defenses. However, scientists suggest that protection against infection with Omicron appears to be weakening after about 10 weeks. Protection from serious illness is likely to last much longer.
On the good news, antiviral drugs are now available to help you avoid hospitalization. They are prescribed to those who are at the highest risk of contracting Covid, primarily cancer patients and organ transplant recipients.
Molnupiravir – an antiviral drug that interferes with Omicron’s ability to multiply inside the body and reduce hospitalizations by 30%. Sotrovimab is a therapy with antibodies that “stick” to the virus and thereby reduce the number of hospitalizations required by 79%. Both of these drugs suppress the virus and provide valuable time for the immune system to respond.
Tension reigns in national health services. The sharp increase in the spread of Omicron leads to more hospitalizations and fewer medical personnel called upon to care for people in hospitals – sick doctors and nurses have to isolate themselves from their own infection. On December 19, for example, around 19,000 NHS (National Health Service England) employees tested positive for Covid, up 54% from the previous week.
NHS Providers have reported their busiest Christmas season, with 94.5% of adult beds occupied, up from 89% last year. The next few weeks will show whether the milder measures and boosters are enough compared to last year to combat a strain that is spreading significantly faster than those we have seen before. The speed with which this is happening means that the world will very quickly know how it will all happen.