Omicron’s Progress Hints At Mild Cases, Less Death
As omicron begins to spread quickly through the U.S., local and global officials and medical experts are finding some positive news: South African data hints it may cause less serious cases, and "mild" ones in children, but Dr. Anthony Fauci said it was too early to be certain.
Fauci Says Early Reports Encouraging About Omicron Variant
U.S. health officials said Sunday that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that scientists need more information before drawing conclusions about omicron’s severity. ... “Thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it,” Fauci said. “But we have really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or it really doesn’t cause any severe illness, comparable to delta.” (Johnson, 12/5)
Early South Africa Data Hints Omicron May Cause Less Severe Covid, But More Research Needed
As the world waits for studies that give a clear picture of the Omicron variant, early clinical data emerging from South Africa hint at a virus that may cause less severe cases of Covid-19. The South African Medical Research Council posted a report Saturday of the early experiences at several hospitals in Gauteng Province, where Omicron was first spotted in the country. Strikingly, most hospitalized patients who tested positive for Covid did not need supplemental oxygen. Few developed Covid pneumonia, few required high-level care, and fewer still were admitted to intensive care. (Branswell, 12/4)
S. African Official Says Children Sick With COVID-19 Have Mild Infections
Higher hospital admissions among children during a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in South Africa that has been driven by the Omicron coronavirus variant should not prompt panic as infections have been mild, a health official said on Saturday. A large number of infants admitted with COVID-19 last month in Tshwane, the metropolitan area that includes the capital Pretoria, raised concerns that the newly identified Omicron could pose greater risks for young children than other variants. (Winning, 12/4)
Omicron Seems To Spread Quickly. But It Hasn’t Caused Any Deaths.
Omicron continues to spread across the United States, and around the world, as scientists try to pin down how fast it spreads and how much of a threat it poses compared to other strains of the virus . As of Saturday morning, omicron cases had been reported in 12 U.S. states, pretty much all of which were among people who had traveled to South Africa recently. None of the cases so far in the U.S. have resulted in serious illness; and the World Health Organization has said that no omicron cases, which have been detected in at least 38 countries, have resulted in death.WHO officials note that it will take weeks to know how infectious omicron really is and how effective the current crop of vaccines is against the new variant. Experts emphasize that vaccines will provide some protection against the variant, especially against the worse outcomes of infection, like hospitalization and death. “There’s no reason to suppose that they won’t,” Michael Ryan, head of emergencies at the WHO said. That said, preliminary data appears to suggest omicron is able to cause reinfection at a higher rate compared to previous variants, which is of particular concern to countries where vaccination rates are low. (Politi, 12/4)