Wednesday, October 5

Covid-19 ‘viral storm’ is about to hit US, says expert

(CNN) — With the increase in hospitalizations for covid-19 in the US As the holiday season progresses, experts urge people to take precautionary measures against the new omicron variant that could quickly become a “viral storm” in the country.

While the presence of the delta variant remains worrisome, there could be millions more Americans infected in a few weeks due to the high transmissibility of the omicron variant, said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

“I think we are about to experience a viral storm,” Osterholm told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday. “I think in the next three to eight weeks, we will see millions of Americans become infected with this virus, and that will overlap with delta, and we are still not sure how exactly it is going to work.”

With so many possible cases with the omicron variant, which scientists believe is a more contagious variant, although most cases thus far appear to be mild, there will be a serious strain on the healthcare system as more workers are likely to become get sick, Osterholm said.

California takes action again to curb the spread of omicron 2:17

“What we have here right now is a potential perfect viral storm,” Osterholm said. “I have been very concerned about the fact that we could easily see a quarter to a third of our healthcare workers quickly convert to cases.”

Andy Slavitt, who was a pandemic advisor to President Joe Biden, said that while tools like vaccines are now available unlike last winter, “a very tough January” is coming because of the omicron variant.

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“For healthcare workers, hospitals, for people who are sick, even sick with things other than covid, that represents a real danger and a real threat,” Slavitt told CNN’s Don Lemon, the Thursday.

The US faces tensions over this “viral storm” of covid-19

Various sectors of American life are already showing signs of tension. Some colleges and universities are returning to online learning. Sports leagues are postponing games because players tested positive, and live shows in theaters are canceling performances.

Long lines were seen Thursday for COVID-19 tests in metropolitan areas such as New York, Boston and Miami.

With Christmas and New Year’s Eve approaching, and the accompanying trip to see friends and family, get vaccinated, or get boosted is still key.

Recent laboratory studies of blood drawn from vaccinated people exposed to engineered copies of the omicron variant showed that it may evade some protection offered by two doses of Moderna’s covid-19 vaccine, but a booster dose restores much of that. immunity, the researchers reported Wednesday. The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine has shown similar results.

The daily vaccination rate increased about 22% from the previous month, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And more than half of the vaccines are booster doses. At the current rate, it will take at least half of adults more than two months to receive a COVID-19 booster, according to a CNN analysis of the CDC data.

President Biden said Thursday that COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are essential to keep business and holiday gatherings safe.

“For the unvaccinated, we are facing a winter of serious illness and death,” he said. “But there is good news if they are vaccinated and have their booster shot, they are protected against serious illness and death.”

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We are not defenseless against omicron variant, says doctor 0:46

Vaccines remain the best way to combat covid-19, officials say

Even with the possible spread of the omicron variant, Obama’s former White House health policy adviser, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, said the US has tools to combat COVID-19 unlike its own. beginning.

“In March 2020, we didn’t understand much about coronavirus. Second, we now have vaccines. We have the ability to change those vaccines. We are receiving oral therapies. We have much better testing and testing availability. None of that is perfect, but it’s so much better than it was in March 2020, “Emanuel told CNN’s Michael Smerconish on Thursday.

Ongoing research on additional drugs to fight the coronavirus is ongoing.

Merck’s antiviral, molnupiravir, reduces the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 in high-risk unvaccinated adults by 30%, according to a statement issued after the publication of data from its clinical trials in the New England Journal. of Medicine.

Among people who received the treatment, the risk of hospitalization and death was 6.8%, compared with 9.7% among people who received a placebo, according to the study. There was one death in the treatment group, compared to nine deaths in the placebo group.

While successes are being found in some treatments before and after infection, rates of severe illness and death for those vaccinated remain much lower even with data showing reduced effectiveness of vaccines against certain variants.

“Given the increased risk related to the delta and omicron variant, it is important to increase the uptake of primary vaccination and booster doses in all eligible populations,” said Heather Scobie, member of the Covid Enhanced Surveillance Epidemiology Task Force. -19 from the CDC.

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People can travel safely with precautions, Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is confident that the omicron variant will become the dominant variant relatively soon.

“It has what we call a doubling time of about three days. And if you do the math on that, if you only have a couple of percentages of isolates that are omicron, very soon it will be the dominant variant,” he told the ABC show. Good Morning America “.

However, as long as people get vaccinated and use precautions like wearing masks, Fauci said, the lockdowns seen last year may not be necessary and traveling for Christmas with other vaccinated people can be done safely. .

“If you are vaccinated, and particularly if you receive a booster, you will have to wear a mask if you get on a plane anyway. That is a regulation. But be prudent and careful. When you go to the airport, in particular, it is an environment of congregation indoors, “Fauci told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“I think if people follow the CDC’s recommendations on wearing face masks indoors, follow the advice to get vaccinated and get a booster, we should be fine for the holidays and we should enjoy it with our family and friends.”

— Jen Christensen, Maggie Fox, Deidre McPhillips, Jacqueline Howard, Naomi Thomas, Virginia Langmaid, Allie Malloy, John Bonifield y Katherine Dillinger, de CNN, contribuyeron a este informe.

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