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In Europe, leaders are beginning to turn the tide of the pandemic. It’s a different story in America

The political consensus surrounding the Austrian plan has shown signs of unraveling in recent weeks as experts await data to see if an existing vaccine is effective against the new, potentially deadly variant of Omicron. highly infectious or not. Recent studies, including a report released Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Preventionconfirmed that vaccines help prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death, while booster shots increase that protection.
The Austrian government has said that although the task is a difficult step, it is necessary to fight serious illness and get out of the pandemic. “We know that vaccination is the only way out of it and back to normal life,” said Austria’s federal minister, Karoline Edtstadler, recently told the BBC.

A return to normal life – or something approaching it – is beginning across Europe. From the reopening of restaurants and nightlife to the easing of quarantine measures and the lifting of mask regulations, some of the bloc’s largest economies are easing regulations on Their Covid-19 defied a record number of cases, largely fueled by the spread of Omicron. Officials say they’re able to do so because the variant causes less serious illness and their high numbers of vaccinated people need to be hospitalized.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid on Monday rescinded an order forcing all frontline health workers in the UK to be vaccinated, saying that although vaccination was still “our best line of defense” it was not longer “commensurate” to the request. The U-turn follows Britain’s decision to scrap the so-called “Plan B” restriction, introduced to combat the Omicron variant, as cases stabilize.

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands are lifting their remaining Covid rules despite a rise in cases – Denmark has the second-highest rate of new infections, or a seven-day average of new infections, of any other country. any country in the world, according to Our World in Data. Officials in other countries say that recent spikes are not responsible for the increase in hospitalizations, Norwegian Prime Minister Gahr Stoere noted: “We are well protected by the vaccine. ” France on Wednesday said it would begin lifting restrictions when the situation appeared to be stabilizing.
The picture looks very different in the US, where increasing hospitalizations and deaths have raised hopes that Omicron will be kinder to the country than in previous waves. Unlike in Western Europe, where leaders are beginning to turn the tide of the pandemic, the death rate from Covid in the United States is skyrocketing, according to the latest estimates from the United States. Our data world. Experts are blaming the country for not vaccinating as many people as other rich nations. The US currently ranks fourth globally in terms of Covid-19 deaths per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University. The only major European country to surpass that of the United States is Poland.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that it is starting to see a worrying increase in the number of deaths in most regions of the world and that any country will give up. efforts to prevent transmission are premature. “We are concerned that some reports have been made in several countries that due to the vaccine and due to the high transmissibility of Omicron and its lower severity, it is no longer possible to prevent transmission. and is no longer necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth.” WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Tuesday.

“More transmissions means more deaths. We are not calling for any country to return to a so-called lockdown. But we are calling on all countries to protect their people. them using every tool in the toolkit, not just the vaccine. It’s too early for any country to surrender, or claim victory,” he added.

YOU ASKED. WE HAVE ANSWERED

Q: Should you wait for an Omicron specific booster?

ONE: “Is not,” Dr. Leana Wen, CNN Medical Analyst saidadded: “Everyone eligible to receive the boost should do so now.”

Here are two main reasons why:

  • First, there is growing evidence that a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna or a second vaccine after Johnson & Johnson is needed to maintain strong protection against Covid-19. Last month, three new studies from the CDC found that boosters protect from severe illness and reduce the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus.
  • Second, the Omicron-specific vaccine is still in clinical trials. Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday that they are starting a Covid-19 vaccine trial specifically for Omicron, and Moderna revealed on Wednesday that they have entered Phase 2 of a vaccine trial targeting into this variant. These tests will take months to complete, and with Omicron still rising, people shouldn’t delay their boosters.

READING OF THE WEEK

Pfizer files FDA application for two-dose vaccine for children under 5 years old

Pfizer and its partner, BioNTechhas asked the US Food and Drug Administration to license its two-dose Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 6 months to 5 years, the companies said on Tuesday, adding that the move was made in response to an “urgent public health need in this regard. population.”

The urgent licensing request comes as the Omicron variant fuels a record increase in childhood infections. Since the start of the pandemic, at least 11.4 million children have tested positive for Covid-19, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Monday, with more than 3.5 million cases confirmed. reported in January only. Children accounted for 22.8% of all cases reported for the week ending January 27.

Federal regulatory agency prompted companies to submit claims even though two child-sized doses of the vaccine did not produce the expected immunity in children 2 to 5 years of age in a clinical trial. Children 6 months to 2 years of age produce an immune response comparable to that of adolescents and young adults.
Parents, are you ready to get your little ones vaccinated? Have you ever avoided activities because you were afraid your child would catch Covid-19? What will the vaccine mean for your family? Share your story with us.

A universal vaccine could be the future of the fight against coronavirus

Scientists are working to develop a “pan-coronavirus” vaccine – a vaccine that offers protection against multiple variants of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

It is hoped that such a vaccine could pave the way for the development of a universal coronavirus vaccine that can defeat any virus – not just the emerging variants that cause Covid. -19, but also some common colds and even the novel threat coronavirus that we haven’t identified yet, Jacqueline Howard report.

But such vaccines “will take years to develop,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a White House briefing on Wednesday.

What it’s like to fly into the Olympic “bubble” in Beijing

The Beijing Winter Olympics are being held inside a real fortress – informally called a “bubble” – that takes weeks of careful planning to infiltrate. Designed to stop the spread of Covid, the bubble is the most ambitious quarantine measure implemented anywhere since the start of the pandemic.

Across China, entire communities have been forced to close down because of a single Covid case. Any failure to prevent incidents at the Winter Olympics could undermine the country’s zero-Covid strategy and jeopardize the health and reputation of the entire nation.

By the time she departed for Beijing, CNN reporter Selina Wang had been fully vaccinated, tested negative for Covid twice, and stocked her suitcase with masks and snacks to eat if needed. She was unsuccessful and was forced to isolate herself for the entire Olympics. . Read more about her journey.

TOP TIPS

You’re all set to trade your old cloth masks for an N95 as some experts recommend, but the higher price tag and two small words – “single use” – are giving you pause. How long can you really wear the N95 and still protect yourself and others from Covid-19?

  • Avoid touching the front outer part of the mask when putting it on. Instead, try to handle it with edges or straps.
  • These masks are designed to handle many particles and will continue to function even when they are worn in crowded environments. But if you know you’ve been in contact with someone with Covid, Marr recommends discarding the mask.
  • If the mask is damp, dirty, bent, creased, or otherwise damaged – including from makeup – you need to replace the mask as these conditions can reduce the mask’s effectiveness.

LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST

Our memories may be precious, but they are not necessarily exact. This week on the Chasing Life podcast, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta explores why we forget and what we can do to keep our memories sharp at any age. . Listen.

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