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COVID-19 omicron FAQ: Cases doubling, NFL postponement, ‘It’s going to take over,’ Fauci said

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The COVID-19 omicron variant is spreading shortly.


Sarah Tew/CNET

For probably the most up-to-date information and details about the coronavirus pandemic, go to the WHO and CDC web sites.

Now detected in 44 states, circumstances of the quickly spreading omicron variant are doubling each two to 3 days, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said on CNN Sunday morning. “It is going to take over,” Fauci mentioned.

The COVID virus is touching each nook of US, from New York state, which skilled its highest one-day number of positive cases on Friday and then again on Saturday, to the NFL, which is postponing games due to rising circumstances. On the West Coast, Washington state senator Doug Ericksen died after testing constructive.

Scientists are working via the rising physique of proof that the virus can simply go from one individual to a different and evade safety supplied by the first vaccine doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Johson & Johnson. The New York Times on Sunday reported that COVID-19 vaccines used elsewhere in world “supply nearly no protection towards changing into contaminated by the extremely contagious Omicron variant.” Solely the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines look like efficient in guarding towards omicron. And people vaccinated with the Pfizer and Moderna pictures want a booster to guard towards an infection and severe sickness.

Within the US, Biden and his administration are urgent these eligible to get the COVID vaccine and booster pictures, and Biden is ready to address the nation on Tuesday on the surging omicron variant.

Up to now, the COVID-19 vaccines approved within the US — particularly the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines — have confirmed to be highly effective in stopping hospitalization and demise, with people who find themselves unvaccinated being over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized if contaminated. A Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention panel on Thursday really helpful that these searching for a protected and efficient vaccine ought to select an mRNA possibility (Pfizer or Moderna) — and not Johnson and Johnson’s.

Listed below are 9 necessary issues to learn about omicron right now. For extra on COVID-19 boosters, here is methods to get an appointment and a free experience to your shot. This is how you may quickly get a COVID-19 check package without cost and particulars on mixing and matching vaccines.


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A Pfizer or Moderna vaccine booster is required to protect towards omicron

Stressing the necessity for a booster, Fauci on Sunday mentioned “if you get to omicron, the safety signifciantly goes down,” with two doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. “However the excellent news is if you increase somebody, it goes proper again up,” Fauci mentioned.

A 3rd booster shot is urged by the CDC, which can finally have an effect on the definition of “absolutely vaccinated.” Fauci mentioned on Sunday whether or not the CDC modifications the definition, the significance of a booster holds: “So far as I am involved — I make it very clear — if you wish to be optimally protected, get boosted.”

Which NFL video games have been postponed due to COVID?

The NFL selected Friday to postpone three video games for Week 15. The sport between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns, initially scheduled for Saturday, December 18, has been rescheduled for Monday, December 20.

Initially scheduled for Sunday, December 19, the Seattle Seahawks-Los Angeles Rams and Washington Soccer Group-Philadelphia Eagles video games will now be performed on Tuesday, December 21. The Browns, Rams, and Washington all have greater than 20 gamers in COVID protocol due to constructive checks.

On Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell communicated with all 32 groups concerning the league’s shift in coverage. Goodell famous, “The emergence of the Omicron variant is exactly the sort of change that warrants a versatile response. Primarily based on medical recommendation, now we have instituted further protocols in addition to revised testing protocols for reinstating gamers and workers who’ve examined constructive. We now have additionally thought of whether or not sure video games needs to be rescheduled in mild of present circumstances.”

The brand new COVID variant could unfold extra simply than delta

A rising assortment of information means that omicron could be more infectious than the delta variant and is now the dominant strain in the UK.

The World Health Organization said the variant has been reported in 89 nations and the variety of circumstances is doubling in 1.5 to three days, together with in nations with excessive ranges of immuniity.

Up to now, the omicron virus showing to supply delicate signs

Some hopeful information on omicron got here lately from South Africa. At a press briefing Thursday, Minister of Well being Dr. Joe Phaahla famous that hospitalizations are “positively a lot decrease” than through the nation’s third wave, in June 2021. Just one.7% of COVID-19 circumstances on this fourth wave’s second week of infections concerned hospitalization, in contrast with 19% through the second week of the third wave.

Well being officers mentioned the numbers could also be skewed by breakthrough circumstances of those that are vaccined and experincing asymptomatic or delicate sickness. Those that are unvaccinated may have extra extreme sickness.

Why did the CDC panel advocate the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines over the one from Johnson & Johnson?

On Thursday, a CDC advisory panel voted to advocate that these searching for a protected vaccine decide both Moderna’s or Pfizer’s due to the danger of a doubtlessly deadly blood clot situation related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, is predicted to determine as quickly as right now whether or not to just accept that panel’s vote.

Is an omicron-specific vaccine wanted?

Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have all mentioned they’re gearing as much as create a vaccine particularly designed to fight omicron if it is wanted.

Fauci on Dec. 15 mentioned that there isn’t any want for a variant-specific booster at this level. The present boosters look like efficient towards omicron.

Omicron is analogous to the delta variant’s mutation

COVID latches onto cells utilizing a spike protein in its construction. Omicron has extra mutations than the delta variant, which is taken into account at the very least twice as contagious as previous strains. Whereas it is not clear but whether or not omicron is kind of contagious than delta, the presence of these mutations is one explanation for concern. 

That could be one cause quite a few have banned journey from some nations in southern Africa and elevated journey restrictions to incorporate a detrimental COVID-19 check 24 hours earlier than journey, no matter vaccination standing.

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Drugmakers are exploring if the present vaccines are efficient towards the brand new variant.


Sarah Tew/CNET

COVID PCR checks can establish the omicron variant

Most PCR checks to establish the presence of COVID-19 within the physique are free (COVID-19 checks for worldwide journey are the primary exception). So it is excellent news that the present nasal swab check has been discovered to detect the omicron variant; a blood check or different process is to this point pointless.

“Thankfully for us, the PCRs that we principally use would decide up this very uncommon variant that has an actual giant constellation of mutations,” Fauci mentioned in a Nov. 29 press briefing.

Booster pictures and vaccines are urged to assist stop omicron’s unfold

On Dec. 2, Biden introduced a plan to assist defend the US towards the omicron variant this winter. It consists of:

  • Outreach applications to contact folks eligible to obtain booster pictures.
  • Making at-home COVID-19 checks “free” for everybody.
  • Tighter journey restrictions that require a detrimental COVID-19 check 24 hours earlier than departure.
  • Paid time without work for federal employees to get booster pictures.
  • Securing antiviral drugs as a remedy for individuals who turn out to be contaminated with COVID-19 (these are really helpful however not but FDA-approved).
  • Sending 200 million extra doses of COVID-19 vaccine to worldwide nations within the subsequent 100 days (280 million have already been despatched).

For extra COVID-19 steering, here is what to learn about new journey restrictions, methods to retailer your vaccine card in your telephone and what to do in the event you lose your vaccine card.

The data contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and isn’t meant as well being or medical recommendation. All the time seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier concerning any questions you’ll have a couple of medical situation or well being goals.



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