How long can you spread Omicron?

The US and UK have slashed the recommended self-isolation period for people without symptoms – and many more countries could soon follow, as the highly transmissible variant of Omicron threatens to keep hospital staff and other key workers at home.

It comes amid record-setting case numbers in both countries and marks the first time since Omicron emerged that major countries have diverged from the WHO’s recommended 10-day quarantine period. World Economy.

But most countries are still following the 10-day mark, while others, such as Germany, require a quarantine of up to 14 days. The discrepancy has led some to wonder exactly when, and how often, people infect the Omicron variant.

The moves were made amid worries about the availability of key workers. “If you have no symptoms and you are infected, we want people to go back to their jobs – especially those with essential jobs – to keep our society running smoothly.” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Illness, told CNN this week.

But there is some emerging data behind the changes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said their decision was “driven by science that demonstrates that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, often within 1 year of illness.” -2 days before the onset of symptoms and 2-3 days after.”

CDC shortens recommended Covid-19 isolation and isolation time
One early CDC study, released on Tuesday, examined an Omicron cluster in Nebraska and found that the time from exposure to infection – known as the incubation period – could be about three days. It is shorter than the Delta strain, which studies estimate has an incubation period of 4 days.
A similar study of a Christmas party in Norway where dozens of people were infected gave comparable results.

“There’s accumulating evidence, among vaccinated people, that if we don’t have symptoms, it’s very unlikely that we’ll be contagious after about 5-7 days,” said Brown University’s deputy dean of the School of Public Health. , Dr. Megan Ranney told CNN on Tuesday.

Emerging evidence that Omicron may be less severe than Delta may also play a role in the moves.

But the new guidelines still cause some debate in the medical community, with experts still not fully understanding Omicron.

“For the unvaccinated, the data doesn’t really help you to become non-infectious after five days,” says Ranney. “I’m quite worried about these new recommendations.”

She suggests having different guidance for unvaccinated people until more data is available – which could also have an “extra push” in encouraging people to get the vaccine if they haven’t already. .

Erin Bromage, a biology professor at UMass Dartmouth, added on CNN on Wednesday that there is “absolutely no data that I know of” to support the transition in the guidelines.

He added that people can still test positive for antigen tests up to seven or eight days after the initial test, even if they have no symptoms. Unlike the UK, where antigen tests are more abundant, US guidelines are not dependent on getting a negative result.

Omicron is tearing up workforce barriers in some countries anyway, and it is likely that many will shorten their quarantine period in the new year if the burden on hospitals increases. “Given the large number of new cases … one of the things we want to be careful about is that we don’t have too many people involved,” Fauci said.


Three preprint papers released last week revealed some early good news about the severity of the Omicron variant.

Studies – one from England, one from Scotland and a third from South Africa – suggest that Omicron is related to lower risk of hospitalization compared with Delta . variant. That risk reduction has ranged from 40% to 80% in studies.

That study included preliminary data and articles that have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. But they add to growing evidence that the new strain of bacteria, although highly transmissible, may be less severe.

However, the lower risk of hospitalization could easily be offset by a higher number of concurrent infections caused by Omicron in some countries. That’s why experts are encouraging caution – and encouraging anyone who hasn’t had a vaccine or booster to do so before Omicron moves on.

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How to tell if it’s Covid, flu or cold

Do you have a sore throat, runny nose and muscle aches? It could be the common cold, a case of the flu – or Covid-19.

All diseases have similar symptoms, sometimes making it difficult to distinguish which disease is caused by the weather.

The case rate of Covid-19 has increased as the Omicron variant is widespread, but the number of hospitalizations appears to remain relatively low. For those vaccinated, the evidence suggests that infection with this variant appears to be less severe, said epidemiologist and former Detroit Health Department executive Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, former Chief of Staff director of the Detroit Department of Health, told CNN.

“It’s important to remember that a vaccine is like a ‘warning’ call to your immune system. So its ability to identify, target and destroy a virus will be high. much more every time we get another dose of the vaccine.” El-Sayed said.

“Meaning the symptoms you’ll experience will be milder if you’ve been vaccinated.” However, that doesn’t mean infections shouldn’t be taken seriously, he added, especially when considering the risk of overwhelming health care systems.

Many Latin American countries now have higher vaccination rates than Europe and North America

Many countries in Latin America have been hit by a spike in Covid-19 death rates early in the pandemic, as the coronavirus rages across the region.

Currently, many Latin American countries are changing trends, where vaccination rates are outpacing countries in Europe and North America and helping to reduce deaths, Tim Lister writes.

Vaccine rollout was slow from the start, with just getting the vaccine in hand being a big deal. Just six months ago, Latin America and the Caribbean reported just under half of all Covid-19-related deaths worldwide.

Now, the region accounts for about 10% of Covid-19-related deaths globally, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. According to data from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), a number of Latin American countries have been provided with self-made vaccines in Europe, the US, China and domestically produced vaccines in the second half of the year. now.

One reason for those successful vaccination campaigns could go down in history: Many countries in Latin America have well-established and reliable national vaccination programs against other diseases, such as such as polio.

Omicron causes Christmas travel nightmare

Several thousand flights canceled this week as Covid cases increased globally.

More than 2,000 rides were canceled on Wednesday, following a flurry of unsupported trips over the holiday season. Of the more than 2,800 flights canceled on Monday, about 1,000 were arriving or leaving the United States, according to FlightAware.

Nearly 11,000 flights were delayed. Globally, airlines have canceled more than 6,000 flights over Christmas Eve, Christmas and the day after Christmas. In the US, more than 1,200 flights have been canceled and more than 5,000 flights delayed on Sunday alone due to staff and crew complaints.

The cancellation comes at the busiest time of year for air travel. The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it screened millions of people each day over the holiday weekend, peaking at 2.19 million visitors on Thursday, December 23.

On Wednesday, more people passed through TSA checkpoints than on the same day in 2019.


It’s time to upgrade your mask

As the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread, some experts say it’s time to rethink your mask options — especially if you’re still wearing a variety of fabrics.

Dr Leana Wen, emergency medicine physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, Milken Institute, said: face.” Community health.

Ideally, in crowded places, “you should wear a KN95 or N95 mask,” which can be as cheap as a few dollars each, Wen added.

By being more snug and certain materials – such as polypropylene fibers – that act as mechanical and electrostatic barriers, these masks better prevent small particles from getting into your nose or mouth. and must fit your face snugly to function properly.


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