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    Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has claimed that he is living proof that the Omicron COVID-19 strain is not as lethal as the Delta variant. The 68-year-old leader made the claim in a video that aired Thursday morning while he remained in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus earlier during the week. 'I am getting over COVID. And I also want to share this information with you because I consider that it is quite encouraging to be able to verify in my own flesh now that this variant of COVID does not have the lethality, the danger, of the previous variant, of the so-called Delta,' López Obrador said from his presidential office at the National Palace in Mexico City. The president tested positive Monday hours after he appeared before the media at  the National Palace and downplayed the severity of the Omicron variant, indicating it was only 'a little COVID.'  Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador addressed the country on Thursday, three days after he became infected with COVID-19 for the second time since January 2021, and  claimed that it...
    In this article DALDelta Air Lines jets are seen on a taxiway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. December 22, 2021.Elijah Nouvelage | ReutersFor Delta Air Lines, the Covid situation isn't as grim as it could be. Its outlook on Thursday issued along with its fourth quarter 2021 earnings report calls for a profit of roughly $400 million for the second half of this year, and its CEO Ed Bastian noted that would make Delta "the only major U.S. airline to achieve second-half profitability." Delta still expects to lose money in the first quarter, but Q1 to be the only loss-making quarter of 2022. "We're confident that we'll generate a meaningful profit for the full year of 2022 as the recovery resumes and accelerates in the spring and the summer," Bastian said on the earnings call. Investors are more confident now than they had been in the spring of 2020 about the airline sector, and Delta is feeling good enough — even amid difficult public health and staffing conditions —that it announced a special profit-sharing payment...
    The United States is currently averaging 1,716 deaths per day from Covid, and Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), blames the Delta variant - not Omicron - for causing them. Walensky said at a news conference Wednesday that the slight increase in deaths over the past two weeks - up 10 percent - are attributable to the little circulation left of the Delta variant, not Omicron. According to most recent data released by the CDC, the Omicron variant makes up around 98 percent of sequenced cases, with Delta making up just under two percent.  As a result of the highly infectious variant taking over, cases in the U.S. have rocketed in recent weeks. In two weeks, new daily cases have increased from around 235,269 per day to 750,515 per day - a 184 percent jump. Deaths have not followed though, mainly due to the mild nature of the Omicron variant when compared to other strains. The small growth in deaths that has occurred could be entirely separate from the recent surge being experienced...
    A NEW strain of the Covid virus that combines the Delta and Omicron variants has been found, scientists have claimed. The discovery was made by a research team led by Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus. 2A test being carried out on in Cyprus, where the new variant was foundCredit: Alamy The team have identified 25 such cases and data shows the relative frequency of the combined infection is higher among patients hospitalised due to Covid, Bloomberg reports. The variant was called Deltacron due to the identification of omicron-like genetic signatures within the delta genomes, Kostrikis explained. “There are currently omicron and delta co-infections and we found this strain that is a combination of these two,” Kostrikis said in an interview with Sigma TV Friday. Kostrikis, the head of the university’s Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology said “we will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail”. But his personal view is that this strain will also be displaced by the highly contagious omicron variant. Most...
    CLAIM: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that the omicron variant is “just as deadly” as the delta variant. VERDICT: FALSE. While omicron is highly infectious, deaths and hospitalizations have been less frequent than for delta. Justice Sotomayor said Friday during oral arguments at the Court about the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates that increased hospitalizations “show that omicron is just as deadly for the unvaccinated” as the delta variant. Sotomayor objected to the claim by Ohio Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers that the omicron variant represents a different circumstance than the formerly more prominent delta variant, since omicron appears to be less severe, as well as to his argument that existing coronavirus vaccines seem to be less effective in limiting transmission of omicron. “We have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in serious condition and many on ventilators,” she said. White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said just Wednesday that “multiple sources of now-preliminary data indicate a decrease severity with omicron.” J. Sotomayor says Omicron is as deadly as Delta. #SCOTUS — Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) January...
    Omicron is less severe than previous Covid variants because it does not cause as much damage in the lungs, a spate of studies have suggested.  A study by a consortium of US and Japanese scientists on hamsters and mice found those infected with Omicron had less lung damage, lost less weight and were less likely to die than those that had other variants. It found mice infected with Omicron had a tenth less of the virus in their lungs compared to those with other variants.  The findings backed up another paper by researchers at the University of Hong Kong, who studied human tissue in Omicron victims. They found Omicron grew significantly more slowly in 12 lung samples than earlier strains of the virus. Experts believe the fact the super mutant variant tends not to replicate as much in the lower parts of the lungs means it causes less significant damage, which could be behind its reduced severity. Data from South Africa showed Omicron sufferers are up to 80 per cent less likely to end up in hospital than those with Delta....
    The impact that the Omicron variant has had on the nation's skyrocketing instances of Covid infections may have been completely overblown after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slashed its estimate for the prevalence of the strain in COVID-19 cases by 50 percent on Tuesday. The agency released a revised chart on Tuesday showing that the new variant accounted for 23 percent of all cases for the week ending on December 18, as opposed to the 73 percent it originally reported.  The chart showed that the Omicron variant accounted for 59 percent of all new cases for the week ending on December 25, meaning the Delta variant has been accounting for far more infections than the agency initially thought.  The CDC corrected its error, to the confusion of many, on the same day that the nation broke its record for the most daily COVID-19 cases with a seven-day average of 254,496 cases reported on Tuesday, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.  The country's previous record was about 251,989 daily cases, reported on January 11.  Previous...
    South Africa has scaled back contact-tracing and requirements for people to self-isolate as it moves towards living with Covid rather than trying to contain it. The government announced a raft of changes on Friday including that people who have been in contact with a confirmed Covid case no longer have to isolate if they show no symptoms.  They need only to monitor their health for five to seven days and avoid large gatherings. All quarantine in facilities outside the home is to be stopped, while contact tracing efforts will be scrapped apart from in specific scenarios such as tracking cluster outbreaks. Deputy health minister Sibongiseni Dhlomo told broadcaster SABC the move was ‘based on advice from our scientists that it is not really having an impact any more’. Harry Moultrie, of the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, welcomed the changes.  RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Will the Omicron wave collapse like THIS in the US too?... Will the Omicron wave collapse like THIS in Britain too?... Share this article Share...
    SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While many people seemed to embrace traveling on Christmas Eve, passengers from coast to coast had to deal with flight cancellations throughout the day. “I got a text message this morning saying that my flight was cancelled earlier,” said Patrick Schuler, a traveler at SFO. “It is what it is – things happen.” READ MORE: Bay Area Residents Scramble For Last Minute Christmas Eve COVID TestsWhile several airlines had to cancel flights, the two U.S. carriers that cancelled the most flights were United Airlines and Delta Airlines. As of 5:30 p.m., United cancelled 194 flights, and Delta cancelled 171 flights, according to the flight-tracking website flightaware.com. Spokespersons for both airlines explained the rapidly spreading Omicron variant had a direct impact on their operations. A Delta spokesperson provided KPIX 5 with the following statement: READ MORE: UPDATE: Two Northbound Lanes Of I-680 Reopened; Evacuation Ordered Lifted In Gasoline Tanker Crash“As winter weather impacts the northwest and northeast U.S. the omicron variant continues to surge, Delta teams exhausted all options and resources before canceling around 158 flights...
    President Joe Biden admitted on Wednesday night that he wished his plan to send 500 million Covid-19 tests to people's homes came to him earlier - despite promising nearly three months ago to increase the supply by 'nearly 300 million.'  Just two days until Christmas, Americans nationwide are still waiting in long lines for Covid-19 tests and even longer for their results amid a massive spike in demand. Three major studies have already confirmed the Omicron variant is noticeably milder than Delta, the previous dominant strain. In the United Kingdom, Covid patients with Omicron were 20 to 25 percent less likely to need hospitalization, according to one study. Another paper found Omicron was up to 45 percent less likely to lead to hospitalization than Delta, based on 300,000 people in England. But Biden was forced to defend his administration's response to the highly-contagious Omicron variant as it rips through all 50 states. He told ABC host David Muir that 'nothing's been good enough' though repeated his and his top officials' line that nobody 'saw it coming' as rapidly as it...
    Two new British studies provide some early hints that the omicron variant of the coronavirus may be milder than the delta version.  Scientists stress that even if the findings of these early studies hold up, any reductions in severity need to be weighed against the fact omicron spreads much faster than delta and is more able to evade vaccines. Sheer numbers of infections could still overwhelm hospitals.  Still, the new studies released Wednesday seem to bolster earlier research that suggests omicron may not be as harmful as the delta variant, said Manuel Ascano Jr., a Vanderbilt University biochemist who studies viruses.  BIDEN CONTINUES TO DODGE RESPONSIBILITY ON COVID-19: CHAFFETZ  Medical staff wearing PPE,  on a ward for COVID-19 patients at King's College Hospital, in southeast London, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021.  (Victoria Jones/PA via AP) "Cautious optimism is perhaps the best way to look at this," he said.  An analysis from the Imperial College London COVID-19 response team estimated hospitalization risks for omicron cases in England, finding people infected with the variant are around 20% less likely to go to the hospital at all...
    Two new British studies provide some early hints that the omicron variant of the coronavirus may be milder than the delta version. Scientists stress that even if the findings of these early studies hold up, any reductions in severity need to be weighed against the fact omicron spreads much faster than delta and is more able to evade vaccines. Sheer numbers of infections could still overwhelm hospitals. Still, the new studies released Wednesday seem to bolster earlier research that suggests omicron may not be as harmful as the delta variant, said Manuel Ascano Jr., a Vanderbilt University biochemist who studies viruses. “Cautious optimism is perhaps the best way to look at this,” he said. An analysis from the Imperial College London COVID-19 response team estimated hospitalization risks for omicron cases in England, finding people infected with the variant are around 20% less likely to go to the hospital at all than those infected with the delta variant, and 40% less likely to be hospitalized for a night or more. That analysis included all cases of COVID-19 confirmed by PCR tests...
    DENVER (CBS4) — The COVID-19 Omicron variant has arrived in Colorado, and it’s on the minds of many right now. With that, concerns are rising over how to safely navigate the holidays. (credit: CBS) UCHealth Senior Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control Dr. Michelle Barron offered up her best advice on how to do so. “I understand we’re all pent up and want to do things in a ‘normal’ way,’” she told CBS4’s Mekialaya White. But Barron says now is not the time to let your guard down. “(Omicron) is even more infectious than Delta. We talked about Delta being more infectious than Alpha, Alpha being more infectious than the original. This is potentially five times more infectious than Delta, so it will spread like wildfire,” said Barron. (credit: CBS) With that in mind, she urges vaccination, first and foremost. “It really is advisable that everybody be vaccinated and boosted for ultimate protection.” She says this year, like last, may require some difficult decisions with regards to gathering together. And don’t take any developing symptoms lightly,...
    President Joe Biden told vaccinated Americans they can enjoy Christmas safely, insisted we are not going back to March 2020 and toned down his attacks on the unvaccinated as he announced his plan to tackle the surge of Omicron over the winter.  His battle plan includes sending 1,000 troops to overwhelmed hospitals sending 500 million tests to American homes amid a nationwide shortage and with lines forming at testing centers.   Biden said: 'If you're not fully vaccinated, you have good reason to be concerned,' with studies showing the unvaccinated have virtually no immunity against Omicron.  'This is not March 2020,' he added, citing the fact that 61.5% of Americans are vaccinated and we are better prepared.  He once again pleaded with the unvaccinated to get their shots – but without some of his harshest recent comments, where he said 'sickness and death' awaits. 'You have an obligation to yourselves, to your family and quite frankly, I know I’ll get criticized for this, to your country,' Biden said. 'Please get vaccinated. It’s the only responsible thing to do,' he said....
    The new omicron variant took only a few weeks to live up to dire predictions about how hugely contagious it is, but scientists don’t yet know if it causes more severe disease even as the world faces exploding cases just before Christmas.  "Everything is riskier now because omicron is so much more contagious," said Dr. S. Wesley Long, who directs the testing lab at Houston Methodist Hospital — and over the past week has canceled numerous plans to avoid exposure.  Omicron now is the dominant variant in the U.S., federal health officials said Monday, accounting for about three-quarters of new infections last week.  AMERICA MUST LEAD THE WORLD TO DEFEAT COVID. HERE ARE FIVE WAYS TO WIN  City residents wait in a line extending around the block to receive free at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits in Philadelphia, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) The speed that it's outpacing the also very contagious delta variant is astonishing public health officials. In three weeks, omicron now makes up 80% of new symptomatic cases diagnosed by Houston Methodist’s testing sites. It took...
    NEW YORK (CBS/AP) — Omicron is now the dominant variant of COVID-19 in the U.S., accounting for nearly three-quarters of all new cases last week, according to federal health officials. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed nearly a six-fold increase in omicron’s share of infections in only one week, with the variant accounting for 73% of all new infections last week. READ MORE: Two Kittens Stolen From Traveler At O'Hare Airport; Detectives Seeking To Identify Pair Who Rescued THemIn much of the country, omicron’s prevalence is even higher. It’s responsible for an estimated 90% of new infections in the New York area, the Southeast, the industrial Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. Since the end of June, the Delta variant had been the dominant variant in the U.S. As recently as the end of November, more than 99.5% of coronaviruses were delta, according to CDC data. But Omicron has surged ahead since scientists in Africa first sounded the alarm about that variant less than a month ago. On Nov. 26 the World Health Organization designated it...
    Thus, if Omicron is now the new ploy to return to March 2020-style government authoritarianism, shouldn’t governments downright ban the shots rather than promote and even mandate them? Fauci is predicting hospitals will be “overwhelmed” when Omicron becomes dominant. Mandating the shots, according to his misguided view of Omicron, is like requiring a blowtorch to “extinguish” a fire. In fact, Fauci even admitted earlier this week that South Africa, a country with a low vaccination rate, didn’t experience much critical illness from Omicron because of built immunity. Moreover, as everyone acknowledges this version of the virus spreads very quickly, the worst thing you could do now (if you believe Omicron must be avoided) is get a shot. Studies have shown the shots initially suppress your immune system for several weeks before ramping up antibodies. Therefore, by the time you would have the theoretical protection (which seems not to work for Omicron anyway), you likely would have gotten the virus anyway. A study published earlier this year by the Statens Serum Institut found that health care workers within seven days of...
    Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic — which has killed more than 5.3 million people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore — the world is facing a new threat: COVID-19’s Omicron variant. Medical researchers still have a lot to learn about Omicron, which is spreading rapidly in the United States as well as in Europe, Africa (where it was first reported) and Latin America. And they cannot say for sure exactly how it will behave compared to the Delta variant and other forms of the virus that causes COVID-19. But journalist Ed Yong, in an article published by The Atlantic this week, warns that however Omicron behaves, the U.S. is woefully unprepared for it. “America was not prepared for COVID-19 when it arrived,” Yong argues. “It was not prepared for last winter’s surge. It was not prepared for Delta’s arrival in the summer or its current winter assault. More than 1000 Americans are still dying of COVID every day, and more have died this year than last. Hospitalizations are rising in 42 states…. And now comes Omicron.” For...
    People wait in line to take coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests at pop-up testing site in New York City, U.S., December 14, 2021.Brendan McDermid | Reuters Denmark expects the omicron Covid-19 variant to overtake delta within a week as the number of cases of the new strain doubles every two days, according to the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, which conducts infectious disease surveillance for the Scandinavian nation. Troels Lillebaek, chairman of Denmark's Covid variant assessment committee, told CNBC on Tuesday that omicron now represents at least 10% of sequenced Covid cases, a rapid jump from late November when there was not a single sequenced omicron case in Denmark. "What we are seeing in Denmark is this very steep increasing the number of omicron cases every day actually, we're seeing a doubling every second day," said Lillebaek, who is also a director at one of Statens surveillance labs and a professor at the University of Copenhagen. "And within a week, omicron will take over and be the dominant variant in Denmark." Lillebaek said 75% of the country's omicron patients are...
    The Omicron variant multiplies 70 times faster than Delta in the airways, according to a study which may explain why the mutant virus is spreading at a ferocious pace. Hong Kong University researchers also found that the new variant replicates 10 times slower in the lungs than its predecessor. That finding lends weight to the theory that it is milder than the past variants, something which doctors in South Africa have been claiming for weeks.  The researchers exposed lung tissue in a laboratory to the original Covid strain that was identified in Wuhan last year, along with the two variants, to compare how the viruses behave after infection. Omicron replicated faster in the bronchus — tubes connecting the windpipe and lungs — suggesting people with the strain may be more infectious. Higher viral loads nearer the throat means people are more likely to breathe out viral particles.  Delta was found to duplicate much more quickly in the lungs, where more of the virus can lead to the most severe illness.  The finding may be the biological clue behind why doctors insist...
    As COVID-19’s omicron variant spreads in the U.S., new details are emerging in a research spotlight that grows larger each day. On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the variant’s prevalence has jumped sevenfold in a single week. Globally, it has been detected in 65 countries, including places where the delta variant had a very strong foothold. Also on Tuesday, a deluge of new data offered greater insight into the variant’s tenacity, transmission and severity. This is what’s been discovered: Two doses of vaccine are much less protective against an omicron infection than they are against delta. The two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination provided only 33% protection against omicron, compared to 60% to 80% protection against delta, according to an analysis based on 211,000 COVID-19 test results in South Africa by Discovery Health, the nation’s largest private health insurance administrator. This study, published Tuesday, didn’t look at infections in boosted people. There was more ominous news coming out of a new Massachusetts-based lab study: People who received only two doses showed no detectable neutralization of omicron in...
    People receive the COVID-19 test at a COVID-19 testing site in street at Manhattan on December 8, 2021 in New York.Liao Pan | China News Service | Getty Images The omicron Covid-19 variant first detected in southern Africa about a month ago now makes up about 3% of cases sequenced in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the delta variant still dominates the U.S. at about 97% of all Covid cases analyzed, omicron is quickly gaining ground. The new variant represented an estimated 2.9% of all cases sequenced last week, up from 0.4% the previous week, according to the CDC. More than two dozen states have reported omicron cases so far. California was first to confirm an omicron case in the U.S. on Dec. 1 in a resident who flew into San Francisco from South Africa. But the CDC on Friday said they've confirmed an earlier case of omicron in a patient who developed symptoms on Nov. 15. It's not clear when the variant first arrived in the U.S. The CDC...
    Dr Paul Burton, Moderna's chief medical officer, warned of a new super-variant A new super-variant could be created if Omicron and Delta infect someone at the same time, a Moderna boss has warned. Covid infections normally only involve one mutant strain, but in rare cases two — likely from different sources — can infect a person at the same time. If these also infect the same cell, they may be able to swap DNA and make a new version of the virus. Dr Paul Burton, the vaccine maker's chief medical officer, warned the high numbers of Delta and Omicron cases currently circulating in Britain made this more likely. He told the Science and Technology Committee that it was 'certainly' possible they could swap genes and trigger an even more dangerous variant.  Researchers have warned that these events, scientifically called 'recombination events', are possible but that they require very specific conditions and the coincidence of mostly uncontrollable events. Only three Covid strains created by viruses swapping genes have ever been recorded, with the virus instead mostly relying on random mutations to make...
    The Biden administration is preparing for an explosion of omicron cases that will result in a flood of sick Americans going into the already overburdened hospital system.  'Everything points to a large wave. A large wave is coming,' a senior administration official in President Joe Biden's White House told Axios.  The official, however, expressed hope the cases wouldn't be as severe as previous iterations of the COVID variants.  'It will be fast. It won't be as severe, but regrettably, there will be plenty of hospitalizations,' the person said.  Omicron cases tripled over the weekend, from 43 across 22 US states on Saturday to 153 cases in 30 states on Monday, according to Centers for Disease Control data.  Meanwhile, the total number of known coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 50 million on Monday and the death toll is rapidly approaching more than 800,000.  And only 27% of the American population has received their booster shot, according to the CDC, which medical experts say can help ward off the new variant.   In Washington state, one of the...
    Israeli researchers have found that a three-shot course of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine provides significant protection against the new Omicron variant. The study, carried out by Sheba Medical Centre and the Health Ministry's Central Virology Laboratory, compared the blood of 20 people who had received two vaccine doses 5-6 months earlier to the same number of individuals who had received a booster a month before. Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba, said: 'People who received the second dose 5 or 6 months ago do not have any neutralisation ability against the Omicron. While they do have some against the Delta strain. 'The good news is that with the booster dose it increases about a hundred fold. There is a significant protection of the booster dose.' But Regev-Yochay also admitted that the booster is still less effective in protecting against Omicron versus the Delta variant. 'It is lower than the neutralisation ability against the Delta, about four times lower,' she said. Israeli researchers have found that a three-shot course of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine provides significant protection...
    A public health expert who has previously made dark predictions about the Covid pandemic - only to be correct - believes the new Omicron variant will soon take over the U.S. Dr Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told Intelligencer that he believes the Omicron variant could overtake the Delta strain as America's dominant Covid variant in a matter of weeks. In April, Osterholm said that based on available information that another Covid surge would happen in the coming months - which ended up coming over summer with the Delta wave. At the time, cases and deaths were both dwindling, and it looked like the pandemic was winding down to an end.  He also believes that the definition of 'fully vaccinated' should change to only include people who have received their booster shot - echoing calls by the nation's top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci. Despite the Omicron variant dominating the conversation around Covid in America recently, the Delta variant still accounts for 99 percent of new cases...
    SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Doctors fear the highly-contagious delta and omicron variants circulating with the flu will pose a triple threat this winter.In the same hospital where the first U.S. case of the omicron variant was detected, researchers are now working to understand the impact of contracting multiple COVID infections and the flu all at once.In other words, it's called: the triple threat."There's nothing stopping a person from getting influenza, plus omicron, plus delta," said UCSF's Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, who specializes in infectious diseases. "That interaction may make people sicker."RELATED: Bay Area health experts warn omicron surge is coming, but will it be worse than delta?While it's possible to contract all three viruses, UCSF's Dr. Michael Matthay says the more common scenario is being infected with at least one COVID variant, like Delta and the flu."I hope it doesn't happen in high numbers," said Matthay, who is a pulmonologist and senior critical care specialist at UCSF.RELATED: Early reports on COVID-19 omicron variant encouraging, Fauci saysQ & A with Dr. MatthayQ: What happens if patients get diagnosed with both COVID and...
    (CNN)Michael Osterholm is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and author of The New York Times bestseller, "Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs." He has been publicly warning of the dangers of a global pandemic for more than a decade and half and was a member of Joe Biden's Covid task force during the presidential transition. In April 2020, he told me that he estimated that there could be 800,000 deaths from Covid-19 within 18 months in the US. That prediction has proven eerily prescient; a year and a half after Osterholm made that prediction more than 793,000 Americans have died from the disease. I spoke to Osterholm this week about what he sees ahead for the pandemic. Our conversation was edited for clarity. Peter BergenBERGEN: There are about 30% of Americans who have chosen not to be vaccinated. What's your message to them? OSTERHOLM: You cannot outrun the game clock with this pandemic. This virus will find you and, unfortunately, many of the outcomes are very sad....
    It's too early for Americans to cancel holiday plans due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, physician and health policy expert Dr Leana Wen told CNN on Thursday. While Omicron's capacities to spread more quickly and evade some protection from vaccines are causes for concern, Wen said that the Delta variant is still by far the dominant strain in the U.S. The Omicron variant has been identified in 21 states as of Thursday, and public health officials say it is actively spreading in communities across the country. To protect against this variant, experts recommend getting vaccinated - including a booster shot, for those eligible - utilizing tests, and wearing a mask in public, indoor settings. In making decisions about holiday gatherings, Wen recommended considering the medical circumstances of one's family, precautions being taken at the event, and its personal value. While the Omicron variant is cause for concern, it's not yet spreading in the U.S. to a degree that should lead Americans to cancel holiday plans, one expert said on CNN. (File image) The variant has been identified in 21...
    THE Omicron hotspots have been revealed for the first time, as cases accelerate rapidly across the UK. New measures under Plan B have been brought in to battle the super strain which is doubling in numbers every two to three days. 2The ten places highlighted by UKHSA for high case numbers of Omicron On Thursday, the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) published its first report into the severity of the variant. It revealed several hotspots located in both rural and urban areas. London has emerged as an epicentre for the Omicron variant, which may come as no surprise given its international travel connections. UKHSA said the variant is rising fastest in the capital, East Midlands and South East.  But its detection is widespread and experts say it is likely to dominate all other strains of Covid within a month, including Delta. UKHSA Chief Medical Advisor, Dr Susan Hopkins said "vaccination is critical to help us bolster our defences against becoming severely ill from this new variant". Adults are urged to accept their booster vaccine invite as soon as it...
    A fan wearing a face mask looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Fulham at City Ground on October 24, 2021 in Nottingham, England.Naomi Baker | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images LONDON — The increase in omicron Covid cases in the U.K. is on such steep trajectory that the country has been warned to prepare for one million cases by the end of the month. The UK Health Security Agency said Wednesday that omicron is displaying a significant growth advantage over the delta variant, "meaning that it is likely to outcompete delta in the U.K. and become the dominant variant." This assessment is based on analysis of U.K. data showing increased household transmission risk, increased secondary attack rates (such as the chance of each case infecting another individual) and increased growth rates compared to delta, the UKHSA said. "If the growth rate and doubling time continue at the rate we have seen in the last 2 weeks, we expect to see at least 50% of coronavirus cases to be caused by omicron variant in the...
    There’s a new form of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus—one that experts say is hard to distinguish from the Delta variant using standard polymerase chain reaction, or PCR tests. The appearance of this sneaky “BA.2” subvariant—“sublineage,” is the scientific term—is the latest development in the still-developing crisis that the baseline BA.1 Omicron sparked after health officials in South Africa confirmed the new lineage, with its dozens of key mutations, two weeks ago. The hard-to-distinguish BA.2 sublineage is also a forceful reminder to the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, and the unboosted to get boosted. There’s a lot we don’t know about Omicron and its sublineages, but early signs are that the leading vaccines still work just fine against them. And, of course, all the jabs work even better with a booster shot. Scientists first detected the sneaky BA.2 a few days ago after genetically sequencing a batch of test samples that officials in South Africa, Australia and Canada collected. So far, the subvariant has been identified in 30 countries and six continents. “You can still detect it by PCR,...
    Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul lambasted Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday for causing “hysteria” over the Omicron variant without basing it on science. Paul appeared Wednesday on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” where he commented on the recent scientific findings of the mildness of symptoms among patients who contracted the Omicron variant of COVID-19. “This shouldn’t surprise any of us,” the senator said. “Dr. Fauci routinely ignores the science, causes hysteria, and creates fear. This is the opposite of what you really want as far as someone leading your public health effort [is concerned].” WATCH: Paul noted that the South African scientist who discovered the new strain — a finding that has prompted the introduction of travel restrictions by President Joe Biden’s administration — has reported zero cases of hospitalization or death from the Omicron variant in her country. (RELATED: POLL: Americans Aren’t Cowering In Fear Of Omicron Variant) “So, you’re banning travel, which will destroy economically tourism and travel [industries] and have great hardship for the world, but you’re doing it for something that’s not scientifically sound,” Paul...
    PLYMPTON (CBS) – Omicron will become the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S. in as little as 6 to 8 weeks, according to Dr. Stephen Kissler, a research fellow in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Kissler told reporters that scientists should know more about our immune response to Omicron in the next week or two but clues to its transmissibility and severity could take longer. READ MORE: I-Team’s Call For Action Helps Woman Book Massage Envy Appointments Missed During Pandemic“I anticipate that breakthrough infections will become even more common with the Omicron variant and that’s based off of some of the early information that we’re getting from South Africa,” Kissler said. At this point, only one case of the Omicron variant has been discovered in Massachusetts. Officials say the Delta variant is behind a holiday surge causing the state to log 3,720 new cases and 51 deaths, according to the latest data. READ MORE: Keller @ Large: Build Back Better TV Ad Truth TestOne of the towns...
    The new omicron variant is spreading fast.  But research is beginning to catch up. Because an early case was detected in San Francisco, local scientists have quickly started growing the virus in high-security labs at UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley and Stanford. Using cell cultures, they’ll soon learn how readily it transmits, whether it can dodge our defenses and outcompete delta. In mice, they’ll study whether it produces illness that is severe or mild. “In one or two weeks, we will have a much clearer picture of what this variant is going to do to us,” said Dr. Melanie Ott of UC San Francisco’s Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology. Meanwhile, South Africa studies have begun to offer a real-world glimpse of how much risk omicron poses. The extent to which omicron’s sudden spread is caused by immune evasion or more contagiousness — or both — is yet unclear.  But as the variant expands into 17 U.S. states and at least 45 nations worldwide, here’s what we’re learning: Q: Is omicron less dangerous than delta? A: A new small study...
    CORONAVIRUS cases in the UK are 'being missed' as people are looking for the wrong symptoms, an expert has warned The three main symptoms of Covid-19 include a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell. 2Experts have warned that Covid cases could be being missed as they are being mistaken for cold like symptomsCredit: Getty 2Professor Tim Spector today warned that coronavirus cases are being missed in the UKCredit: bbc news The Omicron variant has made its way across the UK and medics say it could be difficult to detect as the main symptoms are different from those laid out by the NHS. Medics working in South Africa where the variant was first detected have however said that the main symptoms are fatigue, body aches and a headache. Dr Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of the South African Medical Association said patients have not been reporting a loss of taste and smell. Other experts have also warned that the symptoms will differ. King's College London's Professor Tim Spector, who is also...
    SACRAMENTO (CNN) — For the first time in two months, the US is averaging more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases each day, shortly after millions of Americans traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday. The seven-day moving average of new cases was 121,437 as of Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Prior to this week, the US last topped the 100,000-cases-a-day mark in early October. READ MORE: Top Space Force Official: China Is Developing Space Capabilities At 'Twice The Rate' Of UsAlso on the rise is the number of Covid-19 deaths, with a seven-day average of 1,651 people dying from the virus each day as of Saturday, the JHU data showed. Average daily deaths haven’t been this high in more than a month. The vast majority of new cases in the US continue to be from the Delta variant, but US health officials have detected the new Omicron coronavirus variant in at least 16 states as of Saturday. The first case was found in California on Wednesday, and by the weekend the variant had been identified in 15 other...
    (CNN)For the first time in two months, the US is averaging more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases each day, shortly after millions of Americans traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday. The seven-day moving average of new cases was 121,437 as of Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Prior to this week, the US last topped the 100,000-cases-a-day mark in early October.Omicron variant cases identified in at least 12 states but Delta still dominatesAlso on the rise is the number of Covid-19 deaths, with a seven-day average of 1,651 people dying from the virus each day as of Saturday, the JHU data showed. Average daily deaths haven't been this high in more than a month. The vast majority of new cases in the US continue to be from the Delta variant, but US health officials have detected the new Omicron coronavirus variant in at least 16 states as of Saturday. The first case was found in California on Wednesday, and by the weekend the variant had been identified in 15 other states: Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota,...
    (CNN)Just when we thought we were heading for a more normalized holiday season, a new variant -- the dreaded Omicron -- has been identified as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization. I and other public health experts are cautioning Americans to take this variant seriously, but also to be patient, as we have much to discover. But I recognize that the wait feels understandably frustrating: how is it possible that almost two years into the pandemic, we still can't know with certainty what the next best step might be? Megan Ranney To understand where we are, and where we are going, it's helpful to understand the science behind Omicron, and the speed at which we can expect answers. The discovery of this variant is impressive, in and of itself. It was identified when South African scientists who were conducting regular surveillance saw an uptick in Covid-19 cases in Gauteng Province. They genotyped incoming tests in only 36 hours, quickly identifying the dozens of mutations that are putting the public health community on edge. This speed...
    (CNN)With the Omicron variant showing up in more states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN Friday that her agency is working hard to understand exactly what kind of threat this new variant poses. But she points out that the Delta variant in wide circulation now is still a concern. Walensky spoke with CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta about it on Friday afternoon. The interview has been edited for clarity.The Omicron variant is putting Americas coronavirus sequencing efforts to the testDr. Sanjay Gupta: It's been over a week now since the world learned about this new variant. What do we know now that we didn't know then? Dr. Rochelle Walensky: These data are really starting to emerge. We've seen a rise in cases in South Africa and southern Africa. We will learn a lot about this variant from them. We have scaled up our genomic sequencing here and have been prepared for this because of all we've all of the work that we've done so far. Read MoreWe have so many...
    Long lines formed in front of a new vaccination site that opened this week in Washington, DC. Over the last few days, the COVID-19 news has been dominated by concern over the omicron variant. Scientists are worried by the number of changes to the virus, including changes to the critical spike protein. Health officials around the world are nervous because a majority of the planet is still surfing the delta wave, and the idea of something worse coming along at this moment is genuinely terrifying.  So the news this week has degraded into snatching at crumbs of information that put together sound something like “omicron isn’t that bad, oh wait, it’s horrible, or maybe not, or maybe vaccines work, or the don’t, it’s already here, wait its been here, oh god, it’s everywhere.” Which is not helpful. It’s still unclear how contagious omicron is compared to other variants. Or how likely it is to cause serious illness. Or how much difference it makes in the efficiency of vaccines.  What is clear is that COVID-19 cases are once again rising in...
    With a handful of cases now confirmed across the country, it’s clear that the worrisome, mutated Omicron variant has secured a toehold in the United States. But whether these initial infections ultimately fade out or prove to be the beachhead for a new viral assault depends largely on how the strain stacks up against a now-familiar foe: the Delta variant. Since it officially burst onto the scene last week, much of the discussion surrounding the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has centered around what scientists admit they don’t know — whether it might spread more easily than other strains, change disease severity or more readily evade vaccine protection. Yet just as important a question, suggests John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College, is this: What if it’s no match for the devil we know? “Can Delta outcompete Omicron, or will Omicron thrive in the face of Delta?” Moore said Thursday at a forum sponsored by UC San Francisco. “That’s just a complete unknown at the moment.” Science Did failure to...
    Of the 59 cases identified in Europe, all of them were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, just like the case discovered in California. Incidentally, nearly all of the cases seem to be among the vaccinated. Even Japan appears to have eased its travel restrictions after seeing that this variant appears to be mild. The cruel irony is that the panic over the mildest variant appears to come at a time when there are record hospitalizations among highly vaccinated northern states in the U.S. and much of continental Europe. Why would public health officials focus on a random new variant that would probably portend good news if it predominated Delta, when the current iteration is what is killing so many people? Clearly, the leaders want to distract from the existing failure of the vaccines against the current variant and sow fear about something new and unknown rather than own up to the fiasco and forge new policies to better treat people for Delta. In reality, Delta appeared to start more like a bad cold when the U.K. got...
    NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As more countries report cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, scientists in the U.S. are analyzing tens of thousands of virus samples, looking for the new strain. It is a complicated laboratory process that CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports is key is to understand how contagious and how serious a disease the strain can cause. READ MORE: First U.S. Case Of Omicron Variant Detected In CaliforniaHealth officials around the world are concerned about the new variant because it has a never-before-seen number of mutations in the genes that code for the spike proteins which the virus uses to enter human cells. COVID VACCINE New York State book online here or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX New York City book online here or call 877-VAX-4NYC Track NYC vaccinations by zip code Nassau County more info here Suffolk County more info here Westchester County more info here New Jersey book online here or call 1-855-568-0545 Connecticut book online here Labs around the U.S., like the Pandemic Response Lab just outside New York City, are testing to see where else Omicron will pop up, now that the Centers for Disease Control has...
    Share this: While all eyes are on the new and little-understood omicron variant, the delta form of the coronavirus isn’t finished wreaking havoc in the U.S., sending record numbers of patients to the hospital in the Midwest and New England. “Omicron is a spark that’s on the horizon. Delta variant is the fire that’s here today,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the state Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Maine, where an unprecedented 334 people were in the hospital with COVID-19 as of midweek. The U.S. recorded its first known omicron infection on Wednesday, in a fully vaccinated person who had returned to California from South Africa, where the variant was first identified just over a week ago.
    (CNN) — Health experts are doubling down on pleas for all eligible Americans to get vaccinated — and boosted — against Covid-19 as the Omicron and Delta variants spread. Less than two weeks after Omicron was first identified by South African scientists, it’s already become the dominant variant in that country and has been identified in at least 20 nations. It’s too early to tell whether Omicron is more contagious than Delta, which is still the dominant variant in the US. But the Delta variant is already fueling another increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations in some states as the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors. Despite several unknowns about the Omicron strain, doctors say booster shots are the best weapon against Omicron, Delta and even more variants down the road. Here’s why: Boosters have worked well against other new variants Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson are testing the efficacy of their vaccines against the Omicron strain, and it might be two weeks before the results are known. But Dr. Anthony Fauci said there’s plenty of reason to...
    The new Omicron COVID-19 variant has managed to dominate headlines and much of the American consciousness over the past week despite the strain not even having been detected in the U.S. yet.  The variant was first discovered last week in South Africa, and is believed to have originated in Botswana. It has more than 50 mutations, including more than 30 on its spike protein, leading some to believe it could be vaccine evasive.  Experts tell DailyMail.com that it is too early for Americans to worry about the variant just yet, though they should still take basic Covid precautions, mainly to protect themselves from the predominant Delta variant. An expert tells DailyMail.com that Americans do not have to worry much about the new Omicron Covid variant yet, but they should still take some precautions to protect themselves from the Delta strain. Pictured: A man wears a mask at an airport in Lisbon, Portugal, in front of a public health notice on November 30 'It's way too early to be worried,' Dr Chris Thompson, an immunologist at Loyola University Maryland told DailyMail.com. Thompson...
    In this photo illustration, a hand holding a medical syringe with words that say omicron covid-19 variant in the background.Rafael Henrique | LightRocket | Getty Images White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that 226 cases of the highly mutated omicron Covid-19 variant have been detected across 20 countries so far, but U.S. officials haven't yet confirmed a case in the states. The variant, which first emerged in South Africa about a week ago, has more than 30 mutations to the spike protein alone. That's the key part of the virus that allows it to bind to human cells and infect the body and makes scientists worry that it will be far more infectious than the highly contagious delta variant that's caused a surge in cases across globe in recent months. "This mutational profile is very different from other variants of interest and concern, and although some mutations are also found in delta, this is not delta," Fauci told reporters on a White House Covid-19 task force briefing. "These mutations have been associated with increase transmissibility and...