Most Omicron cases in US are mild but most have been vaccinated, CDC Report – CBS Baltimore

(CNN) – Most of the 43 people known to have been infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in United STates had mild symptoms, but most were vaccinated and 14 of them had a booster dose, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. US Disease Prevention Friday report.

The CDC’s first report of the Omicron variant in the US showed that vaccination did not protect people against infection but it also indicated that the first cases were found to be mild or moderate.

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“One vaccinated patient was hospitalized for 2 days and no deaths have been reported to date,” the CDC Covid Response Team said. “Case investigations have identified exposures related to international and domestic travel, major public events, and family transmission.”

The researchers added: “The earliest date of symptom onset was November 15 in a person with a history of international travel. “Fourteen (33%) people reported having traveled internationally in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms or receiving a positive test result.”

They said 79% of those infected were vaccinated with either two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. Five of the 14 people who received the booster dose had been boosted at least two weeks earlier and should have had maximum immune protection.

The most commonly reported symptoms were cough, fatigue, nasal congestion or runny nose, the researchers wrote.

The team says Delta remains the dominant variant in the US.

With a 2-3 week interval from the time of specimen collection until the sequencing data are available for analysis, it is likely that additional Omicron infections from the end of November will be detected. in the coming days,” they wrote.

“Scientists around the world are working rapidly to learn more about the Omicron variant to better understand how it can be easily and efficiently transmitted by diagnostic tests, vaccines and treatments. current value for this variant,” they added.

“Many of the first reported cases of the Omicron variant appear to be mild, although as with all variants there is a disparity between the infection and the more severe outcome, and symptoms are expected to be mild. milder in vaccinated individuals and those with previous SARS-CoV-2 infections than in unvaccinated individuals. ”

People who recently traveled internationally were likely younger, healthier, or both, and may not be representative of the general population, the researchers note. If the Omicron variant spreads widely, the sheer numbers could mean serious cases are likely. “Even if most infections are mild, a highly transmissible variant can lead to enough cases to overwhelm health systems. They wrote:

“Scientists in South Africa and elsewhere have established systems that allow the study of laboratory, clinical and epidemiological characteristics; CDC is working with health officials worldwide to learn more about the characteristics of patients with Omicron variant infections.”

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Separately, a governmental and academic group researchers in the UK reported that many people there infected with the Omicron variant were also vaccinated and boosted health.

“Our findings suggest that vaccine efficacy against symptomatic disease is significantly lower with the Omicron variant than with the Delta variant,” said the team led by Nick Andrews of the UK Health Security Service. The lead reported in a pre-print posted online.

They looked at 581 cases of infected people where testing showed they were infected with the Omicron variant, looked at their vaccination records, and compared them with thousands of people who had been vaccinated when the Delta variant accounted for them. dominance.

Two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine – widely used in the UK but not authorized in the US – provided no protection after 15 weeks, they wrote. People who were vaccinated more recently with two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine appeared to have stronger protection against Omicron, but the effectiveness fell to no more than 37% if they had been vaccinated four months earlier.

They write that a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine restored the vaccine’s effectiveness to about 75% for Omicron. But the findings concern a small number of people, they said.

“We were unable to determine protection against severe forms of the disease due to the very small number of Omicron cases and the natural lag between infection and more severe outcomes,” they wrote. .

British and American research groups are both urging booster doses of the vaccine.

“Strengthening doses are especially urgent for people at higher risk of severe illness, such as those residing in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. In addition, the CDC recommends that everyone 2 years of age and older wear a mask in indoor public places in areas with high or significant potential for transmission,” the CDC team wrote.

The CDC says all known mitigation methods should be used. “Implementation of concomitant prevention strategies, including vaccination, mask wearing, improved ventilation, testing, isolation and isolation, is recommended to slow transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and to protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19,” the group wrote.

“Several measures have been taken during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the entry and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States through travel. For example, face masks are required in indoor areas on public transportation entering, in, or out of the United States, and on the indoor premises of U.S. transportation hubs,” they added.

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