Is omicron infection inevitable?

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The latest SARS-CoV-2 variant, Omicron, is spreading like a wildfire all over the country. Some experts say that it is so contagious that many people, including those who have been vaccinated or boosted, are likely to get it. This is news of concern, especially for parents of children who are not yet eligible for vaccination.

But other experts may help take a step back to better understand the situation, as the news is changing rapidly, and Omicron has rapidly overtaken Delta as a major variant of the United States. I don’t think it’s possible.

Jamie Meyer, MD, MD, Specialist in Yale Medical Infectious Diseases, said: “But vaccines and other precautions can protect you from Omicron.”

These measures limit the spread of the disease to the most vulnerable people and help hospitals avoid overwhelming situations that can hurt people in need of medical care, with or without COVID-19. It will help.

Below, we explain how Yale infectious disease doctors can protect themselves from Omicron, and why it is not a good idea to try to infect this variant.

Omicron looks calm — and may have already peaked in some places

The variant, first reported in Botswana and South Africa last November, has recently emerged and scientists did not have enough time to gather specific information about it. However, data from the last few weeks have begun to paint what appears to be a highly contagious but mild illness.

“Currently, many epidemiological studies, primarily from South Africa, the United Kingdom and other European countries, suggest that Omicron is milder than Delta and other variants,” said Yale Medical Infectious Diseases expert. Said Scott Roberts, MD. He also states that hospitalizations have not increased as expected given the high number of hospitalizations. “We know that hospitalization and death are a couple of weeks behind the number of cases,” he adds.

Dr. Roberts quotes One study From Hong Kong (still peer-reviewed), Omicron has been shown to grow 70 times faster in the respiratory tract than both the delta mutant and the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, it grows 10 times slower in lung tissue than other mutants. Some studies have shown that Omicron is not easily replicated in the lungs. The first finding provides clues as to why Omicron is so contagious, and the second finding helps explain the severity of the lower illness, he says.

Nevertheless, it is reasonable to limit exposure as much as possible until the Omicron surge has passed. And the good news is that if that could happen during a pandemic, Dr. Meyer expects the Omicron surge to last for just a few weeks compared to the months in Delta. .. “The model is based on what’s happening elsewhere in the world,” she says. “It’s showing a very dramatic rise, so the peak is expected to be much shorter.” In fact, experts have already pointed out in some places signs that Omicron has peaked in the United States. increase.

Vaccines can protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from Omicron

Doctors emphasize that it is important to be vaccinated and boosted. According to the CDC, breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people are more likely to occur in Omicron, but vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. In December, according to a public data analysis in the UK, more than 525,000 cases analyzed had a 65% lower risk of going to the hospital for those who were vaccinated twice and an 81% lower risk for those who were vaccinated. rice field. Got a booster.

Meanwhile, experts are looking for vaccine renewals. In mid-January, a group of independent experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) will need to update their current formulas to protect them from Omicron and other variant of concern and reduce the need for additional doses. Said there may be. Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson all say they are developing booster shots targeting Omicron, although it is not clear if or when these shots will be available.

I need a mask — not just a mask

Wearing masks continues to be an important part of preventive strategies, but you need to keep up with recommendations on which masks to wear and how to wear them.

In mid-January, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its complete list of mask recommendations, explaining the types of masks and respiratory organs that can be used to prevent infection with the COVID-causing virus SARS Cov-2. Provided updates to. -19.

According to the CDC, masks and respirators can provide different levels of protection depending on the type of mask and how it is used, making it the most protective mask that fits snugly and is consistently worn. It is recommended to wear it.

In short, loosely woven fabric products provide the least protection, layered finely woven products provide more protection, proper disposable surgical masks and KN95 provide even more protection, and proper NIOSH approval. Respiratory organs (including N95) provide the highest level of protection, according to the CDC.

The N95 mask used by healthcare professionals has been regarded as the “gold standard” for infection prevention, but it is controversial to recommend it to the general public. “The N95 needs to be adjusted to fit snugly so that there are no air leaks. Also, people who need to wear the N95 for long periods of time can feel uncomfortable enough to take a break from the N95. There is, “says Dr. Meyer.

Cost is another consideration for most people, and so is consumer research if there are counterfeit products on the market, Dr. Meyer adds. If the choices are limited, “the most important thing is to have a cover that effectively seals the mouth and nose and wear it,” she adds.

Dr. Meyer says he wore a KN95 mask while shopping with his family. She reuses them for a few days until they get dirty or the rubber bands stretch and are no longer tightly sealed.

It is best to take multiple precautions against Omicron

During the Omicron epidemic in your area, it may be important to use a variety of preventative strategies. “My general advice-what I recommend to patients-is to continue to take precautions until this wave goes down,” says Dr. Roberts. “Once things settle down, it may be a better time to resume daily activities.”

This may mean taking a variety of steps, says Dr. Meyer. “You can’t rely on a single tool.” For example, social distance is a strategy that people now seem to pay less attention to, while the CDC is at least 6 feet of physical distance from others. It is still recommended to maintain. “The distance is based on the flight path of the droplets, which may be clogged with the virus. It flies before the droplets fall to the ground when people cough, sing, or scream. It’s related to distance, “says Dr. Meyer.

It can be frustrating if you can’t control whether others are practicing Avoid crowds In a store or other public place (or wearing a mask). “So there may be a place I avoid at certain times, which I know there aren’t that many people out there at another time,” says Dr. Meyer.

Should you reduce your hairdressing appointments? Should I avoid grocery stores and use curbside pickups instead? “Many have to do with your risk tolerance,” says Dr. Roberts. “If you have no health and medical problems, you are confident that you will go out and resume your life.” But be more careful if you have an immunodeficiency or if you live with someone at high risk, including infants. You may want to be.

Another part of your strategy may be to always be aware of how much COVID-19 is circulating in your area. The CDC provides regular updates and can be searched by state or county.

Do you know if you have Omicron?

Despite all preventative strategies, if you are infected with COVID-19, you may not be sure if it is Omicron. If the test is positive, the results do not confirm the variant you have. In South Africa, Omicron’s symptoms are reported to be different (especially less taste and smell loss), but Dr. Roberts states that many are the same as in Delta and vary from patient to patient.

The main difference is that with Omicron, it tends to be mild and many patients report cold-like symptoms such as sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, and muscle aches. The bottom line is that if you have symptoms on your CDC list, you should be tested for COVID-19.

Check the CDC website for the latest test information. If the test is positive, follow the CDC care and quarantine instructions.

Don’t try to get Omicron to boost your immunity

Some suggest that most people will eventually get infected with the coronavirus, but we must do our best to avoid getting infected with Omicron. There is no reason to be infected intentionally, so I think it will be a mild illness that boosts immunity. From now on, doctors say. “It’s gambling that people shouldn’t take,” says Dr. Roberts. “Yes, I have immunity to the infection, but I don’t know how long that immunity will last.”

A large number of infections are still increasing hospitalizations, primarily unvaccinated and vaccinated, with other serious illnesses that can cause complications. Many people are there, doctors say. However, knowing for sure how severe a healthy person will be is also a set of symptoms that can last weeks to months after infection and can affect people. It is also true that we are not sure about the possibility of developing long-term COVID. Those who have had an asymptomatic illness, they add.

Another concern is that if you are infected with Omicron, you can spread it to others, even if you have no symptoms. “You may have Omicron and go to the store and give it to someone who may die from it because of a weak immune system or inability to get vaccinated. 5 years old.” Dr. Roberts says.

What’s next to Omicron?

Meanwhile, Deltacron, a new COVID-19 strain combined with Delta Omicron, Confirmed in Cyprus in January. But Dr. Meyer says people shouldn’t panic about Deltacron and other new varieties before scientists learn more about them. “As long as the virus is widespread within the community, mutants will continue to form, and not all of them pose a threat to the population,” she says. Even in the best scenario, she adds, it can last for some time. “Like the flu, I think we will live with this virus for a long time.”

Still, she agrees that all of this can adversely affect some people’s motivation to continue precautions against COVID-19. “We were running a sprint in March 2020, which turned into a marathon, and now the finish line is on the move,” says Dr. Meyer. “It’s difficult to continue.”

However, she adds, people have more options for managing risk than at the beginning of the pandemic. “I’m returning to this idea that I can control what I’m doing and what my family is doing, and I’m trying to make choices to keep us safe.”


Which mask protects from Omicron?


Provided by
Yale University

Quote: Is Omicron infection inevitable? (January 25, 2022) Obtained January 25, 2022 from https: //medicalxpress.com/news/2022-01-omicron-infection-inevitable.html

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