Omicron is on the rise and scientists are optimistic. How are both of these true?

The omicron variation quickly goes up domination is a myth, full of unexpected twists – and, yes, contradictions. It is infinity contagious, more than COVID-19’s Delta different; however it is also less deadly, and its victims are less likely to become seriously ill. Omicron will likely infect more people than other variants because of its infectivity; but it is also supposed to culminate, end and could mark the end of the pandemic (and the beginning of an epidemic).

How can all of this come true at the same time?

It is difficult to determine the history and future of omicrons: The origin of Omicron is still a mystery, since it existed over a year ago scientists first noticed it in Botswana and soon after was neighboring South Africa. That said, if the situation in South Africa, where omicrons rise and fall rapidly, is any harbinger of what is to come in the United States, Americans can hope: In that country, The trajectory of the virus is like a cliff, rapidly rising and then plummeting at an amazingly fast rate. The southern hemisphere country has also seen an encouraging shortage of hospitalizations – at least when compared to other strains from the pandemic.

However, there are key differences, demographic and otherwise, between South Africa and the United States that could complicate this forecast. As Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Dr. Allison Arwady explain In a press conference on Tuesday, these confounding variables included vaccination rates, age distribution in the population, and high infection rates. There are other regions of the world whose demographic profiles are closer to that of the US, and therefore their omicrons have a strong increase providing a more reliable comparison.

RELATED: Omicron’s lower mortality rate can be explained by how this variant spreads through the body

Arwady told reporters: “We are watching really closely what is happening in Europe and in the UK, because after seeing that increase in South Africa, the next place we really seeing an increase in omicrons is in the UK, in Europe.” “We’re still not seeing a clear sign of a drop in those settings. It’s always been a bit of a stretch around the holidays because testing is disrupted in different ways.”

Dr Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious disease modeler and epidemiologist at Columbia University, writes: “Reporting of cases is often delayed for two weeks starting just before Christmas until just after Christmas Day. New Year. “As a result, reported case numbers can create a misleading short-term appearance of steep increases, or even decreases.”

All of these issues create uncertainty and limit how reliably we can forecast Omicron’s burden, he added.

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Which scientist? We sure as to why this variant is transmittable. Imagine that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a sea urchin, only its spines are used as grippers to unlock your cells so they can enter and replicate. The COVID-19 vaccine is designed to stop the virus by creating antibodies that target the proteins that make those spikes, called mutant proteins. Omicron has 30 mutations located near protein spike, and mutations in mutated proteins can help the virus evade some of the vaccine-based immunity or completely avoid the body’s attempt to defend itself.

That’s why the headlines have been rife with reports of record COVID-19 infection rates. On Wednesday, more than 4,000 children were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the United States, According to The Washington Post. This is a new record, outstripping figures from the summer caused by the dominant delta variation; less than 2,000 children had been hospitalized with COVID-19 across the country by Christmas, less than two weeks before. In Monday, The United States broke its single-day record to report new COVID-19 cases. According to similar data, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the United States had the largest seven-day average of new daily cases of any country tracked over the past week.

However, because experts believe there will be fewer serious illnesses, there will also be fewer hospitalizations. This has been witnessed in many other countries where omicron outbreaks have occurred, from the UK to South Africa. The question, of course, is how many fewer people there will be in the United States.

“Whether hospitals experience more or less stress than they did in January 2021 will depend on the number of cases and the severity of the disease,” Shaman wrote. “For example, if the number of people infected were twice as likely but these people were half as likely to be hospitalized, the need for hospital beds would be the same. This calculation also applies to estimated deaths. due to the virus, as well as the expected disruptions to the workforce.”

While scientists aren’t sure why there seem to be fewer serious illnesses, a possible explanation comes from a recent study by researchers at the University of Hong Kong. They found that the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 had a harder time replicating in lung tissue than the common delta variant or the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. If true, this would also make it harder for the virus to spread to other body tissues. That’s good news when it comes to omicrons, but bad news when it comes to other strains of COVID-19 – and scientists worry there will be more to come.

“It’s a certain thing,” Dr. William Haseltine, a biologist known for his work confronting the HIV/AIDS pandemic, fighting anthrax and advancing knowledge of the human genome, told Salon earlier this month. “It’s not a fear. There will be more variation. It’s closer to the level of certainty you can get.”

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Caroline Bleakley

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