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How long can you broadcast Omicron?

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The United States and the United Kingdom have reduced recommended periods of self-isolation for asymptomatic people, and more countries may soon follow suit, as the highly transmissible variant of Omicron threatens to keep hospital staff and others key workers at home.

It comes amid record cases in both nations and is the first time since Omicron emerged that major countries have deviated from the 10-day isolation period recommended by the World Health Organization.

But most countries follow the 10-day mark, while others, like Germany, require up to 14 days in isolation. Disparities have led some to wonder exactly when, and for how long, people are infected with the Omicron variant.

The moves were made amid concerns about the availability of key workers. “If you are asymptomatic and infected, we want people to return to work, especially those with essential jobs, to keep our society running smoothly,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Allergy Institute. and Infections. Illness, he told CNN this week.

But there is also some emerging data behind the changes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said its decision was “motivated by science to show that most SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the disease, usually in 1-2 days before the onset of symptoms and 2-3 days after “.

An early CDC study, published Tuesday, examined an Omicron cluster in Nebraska and found that the time between exposure and infection, known as the incubation period, could be about three days. This is shorter than the Delta strain, which studies estimate has an incubation period of four days.
A similar study of a Christmas party in Norway in which dozens became infected found comparable results.

“There is accumulated evidence for vaccinated people that if we are asymptomatic, we are very unlikely to have an infection after about five or seven days,” Brown University’s associate dean of public health told CNN on Tuesday. , Dr. Megan Ranney.

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

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

“For the unvaccinated, the data doesn’t really give a backup that doesn’t make you infectious after five days,” Ranney said. “I’m very concerned about these new recommendations.”

He suggested having a different guide for unvaccinated people until more data arrives, which could also have the “added boost” of encouraging people to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.

Erin Bromage, a professor of biology at UMass Dartmouth, told CNN on Wednesday that there was “absolutely no data I know” to support the change of direction.

He added that people can still test positive for antigen up to seven or eight days after the initial test, even if they have no symptoms. Unlike in the UK, where antigen testing is more abundant, US targeting does not depend on a negative result.

However, Omicron is destroying the workforce in several countries, and more nations are likely to reduce their isolation periods in the new year if the burden on hospitals grows. “With the sheer volume of new cases … one of the things we want to be careful about is that we don’t have so many people out there,” Fauci said.

YOU ASKED. WE HAVE AN ANSWER.

Three prepress articles published last week revealed some good early news about the severity of the Omicron variant.

Studies, one in England, one in Scotland, and a third in South Africa, suggested that Omicron is associated with a lower risk of hospitalization than the Delta variant. The degree to which this risk is reduced ranges from 40% to 80% in studies.

This research included preliminary data and the articles have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal. But they add to the growing evidence that the new strain, while highly transmissible, may be less severe.

However, a lower risk of hospitalization could easily be offset by the higher number of concurrent infections that Omicron is causing in several countries. That’s why experts urge caution and encourage anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated or boosted to do so before Omicron takes over.

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READINGS OF THE WEEK

How to know if it is Covid, flu or cold

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

All diseases share similar symptoms, sometimes making it difficult to distinguish what is putting you under the weather.

Covid-19 case rates have been rising as the Omicron variant has expanded, but hospitalization figures appear to remain relatively low. For vaccinated individuals, evidence suggests that infection with this variant appears less likely to be severe, according to Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a former director of the Department of Health. of Detroit, he told CNN.

“The important thing to remember is that a vaccine is like making a call to ‘pay attention’ to your immune system. So its ability to identify, target and destroy viruses is much greater every time we give another boost. of the vaccine “. said El-Sayed.

“It makes sense that the symptoms you would experience would be milder if you had been vaccinated.” This does not mean, however, that infections should not be taken seriously, he added, especially when the risk of overwhelming health systems is taken into account.

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

Many Latin American countries were affected by rising Covid-19 mortality rates in the early days of the pandemic, as the coronavirus wreaked havoc across the region.

The tide is shifting in many Latin American nations today, where vaccination rates exceed European and North American countries and help reduce deaths. Tim Lister writes.

The launch of the vaccine was slow at first, with only having the vaccines on hand a major problem. Just six months ago, Latin America and the Caribbean reported just under half of all Covid-19-related deaths worldwide.

The region now accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s Covid-19-related deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. This is due to the accelerated delivery of European, American, Chinese and self-produced vaccines received by several Latin American nations during the second half of this year, according to data from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

One of the reasons for these successful vaccination campaigns can be attributed to history: many Latin American countries have reliable national vaccination impulses against other diseases, such as polio.

Omicron causes a Christmas travel nightmare

Several thousand flights have been canceled this week as Covid cases increase worldwide.

More than 2,000 trips were canceled on Wednesday, following a series of trips canceled during the holiday period. According to FlightAware, of the more than 2,800 flights canceled on Monday, about 1,000 were inside, inside or outside the United States.

Nearly 11,000 flights are delayed. Globally, airlines canceled more than 6,000 flights on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after Christmas. In the United States, more than 1,200 flights were canceled and more than 5,000 were delayed on Sunday alone, as staff and crew warned patients.

Cancellations are made at the busiest time of the year for air travel. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it examined millions of people every day during the holiday weekend, with a maximum of 2.19 million passengers on Thursday, December 23rd.

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

BEST ADVICE

It’s time to update your mask

As the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread, some experts say it’s time to reconsider facial mask options, especially if you’re still wearing the variety of clothing.

“Fabric masks are little more than face decorations. There’s no room for them in the light of Omicron,” said CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting policy professor. and health management at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School. Public Health.

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

By having a better fit and certain materials, such as polypropylene fibers, which act as both mechanical and electrostatic barriers, these masks better prevent tiny particles from entering the nose or mouth and must be adjusted to the face to work properly.

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