Covid Variant Omicron (B.1.1.529)

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TL;DR Summary
Covid Variant B.1.1.529: Researchers are racing to determine whether a fast-spreading variant in South Africa poses a threat to COVID vaccines’ effectiveness.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/co...mber-of-mutations/NZKREKR5H7N7AZQKQ3KYR2D2RE/

Concerned scientists have raised the alarm over a new Covid-19 variant with an "extremely high number" of mutations which could cause fresh chaos.

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He also predicted the strain could "escape from most known monoclonal antibodies", indicating it could potentially cause fresh outbreaks across the globe by dodging the body's defences.

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The emergence of the potentially dangerous new variant comes just as large parts of the world begin to reopen borders to international travellers after the Covid vaccination rollout.
 
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  • #2
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More news - the UK has closed its border with some places due to this variant -

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/co...eason-for-concern/KBKMHXPPUQ6FVBAMKCNCOZUFGY/

Experts are sounding the alarm because of the variant's unusually high level of mutations, some of which may make the virus more transmissible or undermine the effectiveness of vaccines.

In response, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced today that six African countries would be added to the country's red list from tomorrow at noon (local time). Flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be temporarily banned and UK travellers will be required to quarantine. The UK had removed all countries from its red list earlier this month.
 
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A World Health Organization (WHO) expert group will meet on 26 November, and will likely label the strain — currently known as B.1.1.529 — as a variant of concern or variant of interest, Tulio de Oliveira, a bioinformatician at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said at the briefing. The variant would likely be named Nu — the next available letter in the Greek naming system for Coronavirus variants — if it is flagged by the WHO group.
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The variant stood out because it contains more than 30 changes to the spike protein — the SARS-CoV-2 protein that recognizes host cells and is the main target of the body’s immune responses.
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“A burning question is does it reduce vaccine effectiveness, because it has so many changes,” says Aris Katzourakis, who studies virus evolution at the University of Oxford, UK.
Source:
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-03552-w
 
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Systematic creation of mutant viral-mimics found a mutant that escapes all antibodies produced by infection or vaccination. However, the mutant did not escape antibodies produced by infection+vaccination. So it is likely that Nu (B.1.1.159) would also not escape antibodies produced by infection+vaccination. We also know that Nu would not fully escape antibodies produced by vaccination, although it looks like that will take quite a hit.

It is not known, but remains possible, that the RNA vax booster (3rd dose) produces antibodies like those from infection+vaccination, in which case, there would not be that much concern. We know RNA vax 3rd dose at 9 months makes antibodies that are equally good against the original virus and the Beta variant, whereas RNA vax 2nd dose makes antibodies that are worse for Beta than the original virus. So this is one sign that the RNA vax 3rd dose improves the breadth of antibodies, closer to those produced by infection+vax. We also know that the RNA vax 3rd dose raises antibody levels close to those after infection+vax, which is another sign that the RNA vax 3rd dose may act similarly to infection+vax.

Fauci has made similar remarks that the RNA vax 3rd dose may induce affinity maturation in a way that significantly improves the power and durability of antibodies. So fingers crossed.
 
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  • #5
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On 22 November 2021, we detected a group of related SARS-CoV-2 viruses in South Africa named the B.1.1.529 lineage. B.1.1.529 has been detected in Gauteng at relatively high frequency, with >70% of genomes sequenced (n =71) from specimens collected between 14-23 November 2021 belonging to this lineage. This lineage possesses a high number of mutations previously seen in other SARS-CoV-2 variants of interest (VOI) or variants of concern (VOC) but also other mutations which are novel. One of these changes can be detected through standard diagnostic tests that target the S gene, which allows detection of this lineage in South Africa without sequencing data.

The World Health Organization and the South African National Department of Health were alerted to this lineage earlier this week. The NGS-SA is continuing to monitor the frequency of this lineage, and laboratory tests to assess the functional impacts of these mutations are underway. Thus far the virus has not fulfilled the WHO criteria for VOC or VOI. This will be revisited, especially as the virus spreads and data is accumulated.

How do the C.1.2, Beta or Delta variants differ from the B.1.1.529 lineage?

While the B.1.1.529 lineage shares a few common mutations with the C.1.2, Beta and Delta variants, it also has a number of additional mutations. At the present, the B.1.1.529 lineage is relatively distinct from the C.1.2, Beta and Delta variants and has a different evolutionary pathway.
https://www.nicd.ac.za/frequently-a...9-mutated-sars-cov-2-lineage-in-south-africa/

It is also incredibly heavily mutated. Prof Tulio de Oliveira, the director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation in South Africa, said there was an "unusual constellation of mutations" and that it was "very different" to other variants that have circulated.
"This variant did surprise us, it has a big jump on evolution [and] many more mutations that we expected," he said.
In a media briefing Prof de Oliveira said there were 50 mutations overall and more than 30 on the spike protein, which is the target of most vaccines and the key the virus uses to unlock the doorway into our body's cells.
Zooming in even further to the receptor binding domain (that's the part of the virus that makes first contact with our body's cells), it has 10 mutations compared to just two for the Delta variant that swept the world.
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-59418127

It's mentioned as a virus of concern.

I learned something new: Eswatini is the name of the nation formerly called Swaziland in English and was officially renamed in 2018.
 
  • #8
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My wife just read a headline with respect to Omicron.

https://www.who.int/news/item/26-11...ron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern
https://www.who.int/en/activities/tracking-SARS-CoV-2-variants/

It looks like Lambda (C.37) from Peru, Dec-2020, and Mu (B.1.621) from Colombia, Jan-2021 didn't go very far.

I'm curious about what happened to Nu and Xi. Forbes published an article yesterday concerning B.1.1.529, in which that mentioned "The next letter up in Greek alphabet would be Nu." Did WHO skip Nu and Xi, because they might be misunderstood? Nu sounds like New, or Xi looks like a certain political leader's name.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucel...nt-spreading-in-south-africa/?sh=2a492a841d44

Before today, there seemed to only be ten confirmed cases of the B.1.1.529 variant: three in Botswana, six in South Africa, and one in a person in Hong Kong who had just returned from traveling in South Africa. However, a press briefing today organized by South Africa’s health department revealed that the B.1.1.529 variant seems to have spread much further than initially thought.
See video of press briefing.

Description:
Conserved Spike mutations - A67V, Δ69-70, T95I, G142D/Δ143-145, Δ211/L212I, ins214EPE, G339D, S371L, S373P, S375F, K417N, N440K, G446S, S477N, T478K, E484A, Q493K, G496S, Q498R, N501Y, Y505H, T547K, D614G, H655Y, N679K, P681H, N764K, D796Y, N856K, Q954H, N969K, L981F

Conserved non-Spike mutations - NSP3 – K38R, V1069I, Δ1265/L1266I, A1892T; NSP4 – T492I; NSP5 – P132H; NSP6 – Δ105-107, A189V; NSP12 – P323L; NSP14 – I42V; E – T9I; M – D3G, Q19E, A63T; N – P13L, Δ31-33, R203K, G204R
https://github.com/cov-lineages/pango-designation/issues/343
 
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Nu sounds like New, or Xi looks like a certain political leader's name.
They should call it Omega, the last letter in the Greek alphabet, so that this will be the last mutation :cool:
 
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  • #11
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hmmm, if found in Hong Kong...might mainland China have cases?
 
  • #12
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hmmm, if found in Hong Kong...might mainland China have cases?
It could have well spread. Very concerning.
 
  • #13
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They should call it Omega, the last letter in the Greek alphabet, so that this will be the last mutation :cool:
If only! Sadly I don't think that is the way things work.
 
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Before today, there seemed to only be ten confirmed cases of the B.1.1.529 variant: three in Botswana, six in South Africa, and one in a person in Hong Kong who had just returned from traveling in South Africa. However, a press briefing today organized by South Africa’s health department revealed that the B.1.1.529 variant seems to have spread much further than initially thought.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucel...nt-spreading-in-south-africa/?sh=2a492a841d44
Regarding Botswana, I was listening to an NPR reporting discussing the significance of the new variant, the person mentioned that virus was detected in Bosnia instead of Botswana. I wish people would be more careful. I feel the media have a tendency to sensationalize such stories, rather than give an informative and rational discussion of the information. :mad: Ostensibly the practices, which mitigate the spread of other variants, notably Delta, as well as influenza, will also mitigate the spread of Omicron.
 
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  • #15
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I'm curious about what happened to Nu and Xi. Forbes published an article yesterday concerning B.1.1.529, in which that mentioned "The next letter up in Greek alphabet would be Nu." Did WHO skip Nu and Xi, because they might be misunderstood? Nu sounds like New, or Xi looks like a certain political leader's name.
They were forced :oldtongue: to skip Nu after Professor Aris Katzourakis of Oxford University tweeted "'Nu' is pronounced 'Ni' or 'Nee' (as in, the knights who say ni, not 'new')." Now he is saying "OK you do know that in Greek, omicron is pronounced “Ekke Ekke Ekke Ekke Ptang”".
 
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Hong Kong, Nov. 27 (BNA): Two individuals in Hong Kong known to be infected with the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 have reportedly been discovered to be carrying a high viral load, prompting concern about how effective current vaccines will be against the variant.

The pair took PCR tests that showed Ct values of 18 and 19, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.

"The viral load of these two with #B11529 in Hong Kong hotels were VERY high. PCR Ct values of 18 and 19! That's insanely high considering they were negative on recent PCR tests," epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding said in a tweet. "Looks like vaccine evasion could be real with this variant," he added.

Source:
https://www.bna.bh/en/news?cms=q8FmFJgiscL2fwIzON1+DgwFjWw5X7WM4R1ooW69jR0=
 
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I'm curious about what happened to Nu and Xi. Forbes published an article yesterday concerning B.1.1.529, in which that mentioned "The next letter up in Greek alphabet would be Nu." Did WHO skip Nu and Xi, because they might be misunderstood? Nu sounds like New, or Xi looks like a certain political leader's name.

The Telegraph reported:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-n...navirus-variant-strain-omicron-africa-europe/
The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the new Coronavirus variant omicron, skipping two letters of the Greek alphabet, Nu and Xi, to avoid giving what is perhaps the most dangerous variant yet the same name as President Xi Jinping, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party.

. . . .
Nu, the 13th letter of the alphabet, was likely skipped to avoid confusion about the new Nu variant, but no explanation has yet been given by the WHO.
See 12:08 pm, Why is the latest Covid variant called omicron?

  • Dutch health authorities have said on Saturday that 61 passengers from two flights from South Africa tested positive for Covid-19 and the results were being examined for the new omicron variant.
  • It comes as a German regional official said on Saturday that health authorities have identified the first suspected case in the country of the new variant, in a person who returned from South Africa.
  • Health Secretary Sajid Javid has spoken this afternoon and said the first two UK cases of the new Omicron variant were confirmed last night.

    He said two people in Chelmsford, in Essex, and Nottingham have tested positive for the new strain of the virus. The two cases are linked and are thought to have contracted the virus in "southern Africa".
 
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At the end of the article, "Both patients are reportedly both fully vaccinated." But with what vaccine?

Are the two people described by "Hong Kong authorities say the variant was brought to the territory by the traveller from South Africa who has been staying in a quarantine hotel since arriving on November 11," and "The authorities believe that the 36-year-old South African could have infected a 62-year-old in the room opposite his own despite both being in strict isolation?"
 
  • #19
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What is the relative individual medial threat from omicron? We see reports of cases that imply high transmission rates but little solid evidence on the severity of symptoms relative to delta infections on vaccinated or fully vaccinated hosts.

https://www.businessinsider.com/omicron-coronavirus-variant-cases-mild-south-africa-2021-11
"It may be it's highly transmissible, but so far the cases we are seeing are extremely mild," Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, told The Guardian on Friday. "Maybe two weeks from now I will have a different opinion, but this is what we are seeing."

If it drives delta out with a much milder version of the virus the net result might be beneficial in the long term.
 
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  • #20
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What is the relative individual medial threat from omicron? We see reports of cases that imply high transmission rates but little solid evidence on the severity of symptoms relative to delta infections on vaccinated or fully vaccinated hosts.
I think it is too early to tell how significant Omicron variant is. Two cases in Hong Kong are fully vaccinated, but they appear to be fully-vaccinated, both in quarantine, and apparently not hospitalized.

There are no statistics on the "61 passengers from two flights from South Africa who tested positive for Covid-19." Authorities are waiting results of testing for the type of variant.

It's not yet clear in the other cases reported to be Omicron variant.

Last year -
The B.1.1.7 variant (23 mutations with 17 amino acid changes) was first described in the United Kingdom on December 14, 2020; the 501Y.V2 variant (23 mutations with 17 amino acid changes) was initially reported in South Africa on December 18, 2020; and the P.1 variant (approximately 35 mutations with 17 amino acid changes) was reported in Brazil on January 12, 2021. By February 22, 2021, the B.1.1.7 variant had been reported in 93 countries, the 501Y.V2 variant in 45, and the P.1 variant in 21.
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmc2100362
The 501Y.V2 variant spread rapidly in South Africa, accounting for 11% of the viruses sequenced (44 of 392) in the first week of October 2020, for 60% of those sequenced (302 of 505) in the first week of November 2020, and for 87% of those sequenced (363 of 415) in the first week of December 2020. In Western Cape, a South African province where the 501Y.V2 variant is predominant, a threshold of 100,000 cases of Covid-19 was reached approximately 50% more quickly in the second wave of infection than in the first wave (54 vs. 107 days). The 501Y.V2 variant has been estimated to be 50%2 more transmissible than preexisting variants in South Africa, and B.1.1.7 to be between 43% and 82%3 more transmissible than preexisting variants in the United Kingdom.
Putting in context,
B.1.1.7 (Alpha) identified in United Kingdom, Sep-2020.
B.1.351 (Beta) identified in South Africa, May-2020
B.1.617.2 (Delta) identified in India, Oct-2020, which became VOI in April 2021 and VOC in May 2021, and is majority of cases in the US and many other nations.

B.1.1.529 (Omicron) identified in South Africa (Nov 25, 2021) and now other countries (seemingly people who traveled to SA and returned, or some who traveled from SA), VUM: 24-Nov-2021, VOC: 26-NOV-2021. The fact that Omicron went from VUM to VOC in two days, rather than one month, means that authorities are responding much more rapidly now than earlier this year? Is this based on experience? Is this a knee-jerk reaction, i.e., an over-reaction or an appropriate response?

We would need to know the demographics of those infected, if they are vaccinated, and if they are hospitalized or end up dying.
 
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  • #21
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There are lots and lots of diseases that we carry around and mutate.

Is this one any more harmful than the ones that go unreported?
 
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Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.
Source:
https://www.who.int/news/item/26-11...ron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern
 
  • #23
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https://www.timesofisrael.com/s-afr...-from-omicron-we-wont-have-a-severe-epidemic/

A top adviser to the South African government on the Coronavirus pandemic said Friday that while the new Omicron variant of the virus — first documented in his country — was worrying, he did not believe the strain would lead to a major new wave of serious illness.

Virologist Barry Schoub, the head of South Africa’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 vaccines, told Israel’s Channel 12 news that based on initial data from cases in South Africa, it seemed the vaccine would still protect most people from severe COVID-19.

“I think what we can be pretty comfortable… that the vaccine will still prevent serious disease,” he said. “That I think we are pretty sure about. How effective it will be in preventing milder disease — that we’ve still got to understand.”
By Friday afternoon health officials said they believed four cases of the new variant had been found in Israel.
But like Schoub, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the Health Ministry’s head of public services, noted that vaccinated individuals who have contracted the new variant appear to generally have a mild illness only.
 
  • #24
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B.1.1.529 (Omicron) identified in South Africa (Nov 25, 2021) and now other countries (seemingly people who traveled to SA and returned, or some who traveled from SA), VUM: 24-Nov-2021, VOC: 26-NOV-2021. The fact that Omicron went from VUM to VOC in two days, rather than one month, means that authorities are responding much more rapidly now than earlier this year? Is this based on experience? Is this a knee-jerk reaction, i.e., an over-reaction or an appropriate response?

One of the WHO criteria for classification as a VOC is evidence for increase in transmissibility. As @Sagittarius A-Star noted, the Omicron variant can be tracked because it causes a failure in the RT-PCR test for the S gene of the virus. Based on this information, public health scientists in South Africa have been able to track the spread of the Omicron variant and have seem rapid spikes in infections recently, suggesting increased transmissibility:
FFJss73VQAAMbQK?format=jpg&name=4096x4096.jpg

(photo via Trevor Bedford's twitter)

While these data don't conclusively show that the variant is more transmissible, it is cause for concern and does warrant labeling Omicron as a VOC.

We would need to know the demographics of those infected, if they are vaccinated, and if they are hospitalized or end up dying.
Agreed. Most of what people are worrying about is purely speculative. We don't have good data yet on whether the variant is more resistant to vaccination or whether the variant changes the virulence of the virus. Over the next month or two, I'm sure we'll have a better idea of the characteristics of the variant.
 
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  • #25
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Is this one any more harmful than the ones that go unreported?
Seriously?!

So far, about 770,000 people have died in the US, and about 5.2 million people worldwide. If there were another portion of the population hospitalized and/or dying, I think someone would sound an alarm. National health systems have been tracking causes of death, from cancer, heart disease, . . . . and there has not been an excess cause of death besides SARS-Cov-2, although homicides appear to have increased during the same period as Covid-19.

COVID-19 Mortality Overview
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/covid19/mortality-overview.htm

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-ta...ow-about-the-increase-in-u-s-murders-in-2020/
https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2021-09-27/fbi-homicides-increased-by-nearly-30-in-2020

https://www.reuters.com/world/ameri...ush-2020-murder-rate-15-year-high-2021-11-25/

But then homicides are not in the 100s of thousands as are Covid-19 fatalities.
 
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Here's an interesting twitter thread from Moritz Gerstrung, a computational biologists in Germany who studies SARS-CoV-2 genomics:


Many of the new variants of concern (such as Omicron) contain a large number of mutations relative to their closest known relatives. One hypothesis about how these variants might come about is through long term infection of immunocompromised hosts (see discussion in this previous PF post). Infection of the immunocompromised individuals gives the virus an opportunity to persist in these hosts and evolve to better transmit inside the hosts as well as evade elements of the hosts' innate and adaptive immune systems. Scientists documented such evolution occurring during long term infection of such individuals:

SARS-CoV-2 evolution during treatment of chronic infection
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03291-y

Persistence and Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in an Immunocompromised Host
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2031364

See also popular press writeups from Science and NPR.

While variants have emerged all over the globe (e.g. Alpha was first identified in the UK , Gamma was first identified in Brazil, and Delta was first identified in India), researchers have found a number of variants that likely emerged from or around South Africa, including Beta (B.1.351), C.1.2 and Omicron (B.1.1.529). Notably, South Africa and the surrounding countries have some of the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS (e.g. it is estimated that ~17% of adults in South Africa are HIV positive). Of course, when left untreated, HIV infection causes individuals to become immunocompromised.

Could emergence of these variants be a consequence of our inability to treat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in these countries?
 
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https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europ...htens-covid19-rules-as-world-remains-on-alert

The UK tightened up rules on Sunday (NZ time) around mask-wearing and testing of international arrivals, after finding two cases of the new, potentially more contagious, Omicron variant of the Coronavirus as governments around the world sought to shore up their defences.
...
One of the two new cases was found in the southeastern English town of Brentwood, while the other is in the central city of Nottingham. The two cases are linked and involve travel from southern Africa. The two confirmed cases are self-isolating alongside their households while contact tracing and targeted testing takes place.
 
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  • #28
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What is the relative individual medial threat from omicron? We see reports of cases that imply high transmission rates but little solid evidence on the severity of symptoms relative to delta infections on vaccinated or fully vaccinated hosts.

https://www.businessinsider.com/omicron-coronavirus-variant-cases-mild-south-africa-2021-11


If it drives delta out with a much milder version of the virus the net result might be beneficial in the long term.
Could the milder symptoms be due to the fact that the individuals were fully vaccinated? And also, remember with Delta, some people died, sometimes within 1-2 weeks after contracting it, while others had no symptoms.
 
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  • #29
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Is this one any more harmful than the ones that go unreported?

Seriously?!

So far, about 770,000 people have died in the US, and about 5.2 million people worldwide. If there were another portion of the population hospitalized and/or dying, I think someone would sound an alarm. National health systems have been tracking causes of death, from cancer, heart disease, . . . . and there has not been an excess cause of death besides SARS-Cov-2, although homicides appear to have increased during the same period as Covid-19.

COVID-19 Mortality Overview
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/covid19/mortality-overview.htm

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-ta...ow-about-the-increase-in-u-s-murders-in-2020/
https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2021-09-27/fbi-homicides-increased-by-nearly-30-in-2020

https://www.reuters.com/world/ameri...ush-2020-murder-rate-15-year-high-2021-11-25/

But then homicides are not in the 100s of thousands as are Covid-19 fatalities.
Seriously yes, I am asking a scientifically objective question and I see no reason not to want to seek an answer to that question. Or has all objectivity now been lost for good whenever 'coronavirus' is going to be mentioned?

I read it has been reported as 'mild' by the doctor that noticed it. No hospitalisations yet from it, let alone deaths. Is that right? Maybe I am mistaken/limited news reports?

I've no issue with taking due temporary precautions, as short as possible until we know, but let's figure it out before being sure we have to close down the planet again, for this variant.

There have been many coronaviruses around before, not reportable, at some point surely we will see mutations no worse than previously seen and not reaching a bar of reportability?

Perhaps we should actually hope to see a mild form of the virus to spread ubiquitously to act as a probiotic effect?

And if the health risk was really the bottom line 'fix it at all costs' point of action, let us note that heart disease has outpaced Coronavirus through the pandemic. 18 million a year global deaths, typically, compared with 3.7 million for Covid, global deaths Nov-Nov for the last year.

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds)

So why aren't we locking down doughnut shops and legislating for sugars and fats? In fact, why do we not have government mandated rationing of foods to deal with heart disease which is more than 4 times as lethal as Covid?

It seems to have done no harm but a lot of good for us here in UK in the post war years to have had rationing (yes, we did have several years of ongoing rationing after the war, and the long term health effects seem to have been profound).
 
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  • #30
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Seriously yes, I am asking a scientifically objective question and I see no reason not to want to seek an answer to that question. Or has all objectivity now been lost for good whenever 'coronavirus' is going to be mentioned?
I responded in the context of SARS-Cov-2, which has had a relatively high mortality compared to other illnesses. If one is referring specifically to Omicron variant (B.1.1.529), then we don't know yet, since there are only a small number of reported cases (<100), and we don't know who was or was not vaccinated. It might turn out to one of those that produces milder symptoms, or doesn't spread far, like Gamma, Lambda or Mu, but maybe Omicron will be like Delta. Delta wasn't a big deal, until it was.

Objectivity has not been lost. There are certainly a variety of coronaviruses out there in the human populations. We are concerned with SARS-Cov-2 variants.

I read it has been reported as 'mild' by the doctor that noticed it. No hospitalisations yet from it, let alone deaths. Is that right? Maybe I am mistaken/limited news reports?
We don't know yet.

There have been many coronaviruses around before, not reportable, at some point surely we will see mutations no worse than previously seen and not reaching a bar of reportability?
We're not concerned with the many coronaviruses before, only those like SARS-Cov-2 that cause severe illness and death.

Perhaps we should actually hope to see a mild form of the virus to spread ubiquitously to act as a probiotic effect?
It is expected that SARS-Cove-2 will be endemic, hence the desire to get as many people vaccinated, just like we hope people get vaccinated for influenza, measles, polio, small pox, and other highly transmissible diseases, which may prove fatal to some or many, and which may or may not be treatable.

And if the health risk was really the bottom line 'fix it at all costs' point of action, let us note that heart disease has outpaced Coronavirus through the pandemic. 18 million a year global deaths, typically, compared with 3.7 million for Covid, global deaths Nov-Nov for the last year.
No one is demanding 'fix it at all costs'. Heart disease is readily preventable and treatable, and that is up to the individual. More importantly, heart disease and cancer are not transmissible.

So why aren't we locking down doughnut shops and legislating for sugars and fats? In fact, why do we not have government mandated rationing of foods to deal with heart disease which is more than 4 times as lethal as Covid?
Many national health services and organizations have informed the public about ways to prevent heart disease, cancer and other diseases. It's up to the individual to choose to act. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic conditions are not transmissible to others. In addition to the mortality and potentially detrimental effects to the one's health, SARS-Cov-2 is readily transmissible to others.

As with other transmissible diseases, like measles, mumps, rubella, . . . . , various governments and health agencies hope to vaccinate as many as possible, in order to reduce the threat to the public health.
 
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  • #31
nsaspook
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Could the milder symptoms be due to the fact that the individuals were fully vaccinated?

The lack of actual public information on disease severity makes any answer be speculation. :smile: SA is taking a big hit because of this.

https://sacoronavirus.co.za/2021/11/27/update-on-covid-19-saturday-27-november-2021/

https://www.reuters.com/world/south...-over-new-covid-19-variant-rushed-2021-11-26/
JOHANNESBURG, Nov 26 (Reuters) - South Africa said on Friday that imposing restrictions on travellers from the country because of a newly identified COVID-19 variant was unjustified, after a British ban on flights from southern African countries that others have followed.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla told a media briefing that South Africa was acting with transparency and travel bans were against the norms and standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), which held an emergency meeting over the variant named omicron.
South Africa has been the country worst affected in Africa in terms of total reported COVID-19 cases and deaths, with nearly 3 million infections and more than 89,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. It had been experiencing a lull after a severe third wave of infections, until last week when new infections started to pick up.

On Thursday, it reported 2,465 new cases, almost double the previous day's number. On Friday, there was a more modest rise in daily infections to 2,828 new cases.
 
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  • #32
Evo
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@BWV I believe you posted in the wrong thread, what thread did you intend to post in and we can move your post.

Thank you.
 
  • #33
Astronuc
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New York State has seen a recent increase in positive cases, with a 8388 new cases on 24-Nov-2021, which is the first time since 16-April that the number of daily new cases exceeded 8000. A lot of people stopped wearing masks after the mask mandates were relaxed. Some business still require masks be worn inside their establishments, but it is largely voluntary. Similarly with vaccinations.

New York's cases are not essentially 100% Delta.
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-variant-data

Deaths still occur at about 30 to 31 per day, but one has to wait a couple of weeks to see if the mortality rate increases in conjunction with rise in positive cases. Hospitalizations have increased, particularly in the last two days, but that could be due to accounting. It seems the majority of hospitalizations are unvaccinated.
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-breakthrough-data

California and Texas cases are mostly Delta
https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/COVID-Variants.aspx
https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/variants-data/
 
  • #34
atyy
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Could the milder symptoms be due to the fact that the individuals were fully vaccinated? And also, remember with Delta, some people died, sometimes within 1-2 weeks after contracting it, while others had no symptoms.
Also, South Africa is estimated to have 70-80% population immunity from either infection or vax, data does not yet indicate milder disease (compared to previous variants) for unvaxxed. Vax is still expected to be hugely protective against severe disease (because of T cells), so main thing is still to get everyone vaxxed and boosted ASAP.
 
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  • #35
BWV
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@BWV I believe you posted in the wrong thread, what thread did you intend to post in and we can move your post.

Thank you.
Not only wrong thread, but wrong forum :)
 

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