Friday, January 21, 2022

Opinion | Omicron Is Not the Final Variant - The New York Times

Opinion | Omicron Is Not the Final Variant - The New York Times:

The world got lucky with Omicron. It’s unimaginable what would have happened if that highly contagious variant had caused disease as severe as Delta has. We may not be so lucky the next time. The world cannot afford to be so unprepared ever again.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Transcript: Ezra Klein Interviews Zeynep Tufekci - The New York Times

Transcript: Ezra Klein Interviews Zeynep Tufekci - The New York Times

Tufekci is so smart.  I desperately need to listen to this.

And here’s the thing, it is purely luck that this one is less severe because, contrary to popular belief, viruses don’t evolve to be milder. We gain immunity to them, for sure, as we get exposed, but they just want to transmit, they don’t care if you eventually die as long as they transmit through you.

So the fact that we got a very contagious variant that happens to be milder — and I’m not saying it’s great. I’m just saying it could have been much worse — is pure luck, evolution luck. So that’s what I think we know right now after six weeks, eight weeks, which is pretty amazing.

As nations decide to live with the virus, some disease experts warn of surrendering too soon - The Washington Post

As nations decide to live with the virus, some disease experts warn of surrendering too soon - The Washington Post:

The national strategies typically reflect elements of a country’s culture, wealth, government structure, demographics and underlying health conditions. Also geography: New Zealand has managed to record only a few dozen deaths from covid-19, one of the lowest per capita death tolls on the planet, by leveraging its isolation in the South Pacific.

Japan, Singapore and South Korea, nations with a long history of mask-wearing and aggressive measures to suppress epidemics, have managed to keep the virus largely in check without draconian lockdowns or major sacrifices to their economies.

Peru, hammered by the variants dubbed lambda and gamma before the delta and omicron waves arrived, has had the deadliest pandemic per capita, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracking site. The nations of Eastern Europe, with older populations and high vaccine skepticism, are not far behind.

As nations decide to live with the virus, some disease experts warn of surrendering too soon - The Washington Post

As nations decide to live with the virus, some disease experts warn of surrendering too soon - The Washington Post:Many nations continue to impose mask requirements, vaccination mandates and travel restrictions. But few leaders in democratic societies have the political capital to take harsh measures to suppress transmission. Even the arrival of the ultra-transmissible omicron variant did not throw the world back into winter 2021, when the paramount goal remained stopping viral spread at all costs — much less back to spring 2020, when people were told to stay home, wipe down their groceries and not touch their face.

Even officials in Australia, long a fortress nation that sought to suppress the virus at all costs, have chosen to ease some mandates in recent weeks.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Additional antibodies may protect against COVID, study shows -- ScienceDaily

Additional antibodies may protect against COVID, study shows -- ScienceDaily: "Our results indicate that non-neutralising antibodies could also provide protection. This would mean that we have broader protection from antibodies than previously thought, making us less vulnerable to mutations of the virus. It warrants further investigation," says Pontus Nordenfelt who led the study and is a researcher at Lund University. In its efforts to produce vaccines and treatments, the research community has focused on neutralising antibodies, which prevent the spike protein of the virus from binding to the surface protein on our cells. In a large project led by researchers at Lund University, a more detailed study has been carried out on how the immune system also fights off the virus by means of phagocytosis, the ability to ingest foreign particles, in Covid-19 patients.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

You're not doomed to get Omicron - by Erin Kissane

You're not doomed to get Omicron - by Erin Kissane:The data so far shows that Omicron outbreaks spike extremely quickly and then burn through and start subsiding. The risk of transmission is high during outbreak peaks, but people with boosters (and those with recently completed two-shot mRNA series) stand quite a good chance of avoiding Omicron infection, especially if they’re able to wear N95 or equivalent masks, maintain good ventilation, and cut out non-essential activities for a few weeks.

If you can do that for just a few weeks while Omicron blows through your area, your individual risk will start to decline. And at the same time, hospitals will start getting breathing room back, so if someone in your family does happen to get sick enough to need an IV or oxygen, they’ll be able to get it. (And I say this a lot, but if your area is experiencing an Omicron surge, this is a great time to drive carefully and postpone risky activities.)

Monday, January 10, 2022

Pfizer CEO says two Covid vaccine doses aren't 'enough for omicron'

Pfizer CEO says two Covid vaccine doses aren't 'enough for omicron': Real-world data from the United Kingdom has found that two vaccine doses are 52% effective at preventing hospitalization 25 weeks after receiving the second shot, according to data from the U.K. Health Security Agency.

Opinion | Omicron Is Not the Final Variant - The New York Times

Opinion | Omicron Is Not the Final Variant - The New York Times : The world got lucky with Omicron. It’s unimaginable what would have happen...