Illinois is getting hammered with COVID cases. The system that my local community hospital belongs to sent out an email yesterday saying that starting today they will no longer allow visitors to the hospital, except under special circumstances. The state is also expanding testing and vaccine services. Cook County held a bunch of pop-up Sunday clinics the two weeks preceding Christmas. The state is expanding free testing at its sites from four days a week to six.
I can't imagine what it's going to look like in a few more days, after all the people who got together for the holidays and/or who traveled start coming down with omicron....
edit: Omicron is getting weird.
1. Many people are feeling sick and showing symptoms but repeatedly testing negative.
2. Yes, Omicron may be milder, but it’s too early to count on it. Small studies from England, Scotland and South Africa do suggest that it hospitalizes fewer people than Delta did. A Hong Kong study suggests it targets upper airway cells, not lung cells. However, it’s not clear if the variant itself is milder, or just appears so because it is successfully infecting so many vaccinated or previously infected people. It’s like testing a new pistol on someone who has just slipped into a bulletproof vest. Is it the pistol or the target that’s different?
3. In Gauteng, the urbanized Johannesburg-Pretoria region of South Africa where Omicron was first isolated, new cases are plummeting so fast that there are already only half as many as there were at the peak. It’s not a curve, it’s an icepick, and it lasted barely a month. That suggests that, as the former F.D.A. commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said on Sunday, it’s “going to blow its way through the population, probably very quickly.”
4. In the last three days, an unusual mutation has cropped up more than 60 times in genetic sequences of the Omicron variant released by the NYU Langone genetics lab.
The Summit County Public Health Department is reporting record high COVID rates and critical staffing shortages countywide. Please get vaccinated and boosted; wear masks in all indoor public spaces; limit gatherings, remote work when possible; isolate when sick, and get tested if sick or exposed. Detailed information: www.summitcountyco.gov/1306/Coronavirus
El Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Summit está reportando altos casos de COVID y escasez crítica de personal en todo el condado. Por favor, vacúnese ; usar máscaras en todos los espacios públicos interiores; limitar las reuniones, el trabajo remoto cuando sea posible; quédese en casa cuando esté enfermo y hágase la prueba si está enfermo o expuesto. Información detallada: www.summitcountyco.gov/1306/Coronavirus
Also got the message via a text.
-------------------------------- “You don’t stop laughing when you get old; you get old when you stop laughing” — George Bernard Shaw
Posts: 24372 | Location: Still living at 9000 feet in the High Rockies of Colorado | Registered: 20 April 2005
That was a really good short article. I like how the McNeill writes. Just the right level of technical detail, always augmented by a common sense intuitive explanation.
One thing: we don't have to wait until Omicron hits a large population of unvaccinated older people (in red states) to begin to understand whether the variant is more lethal than delta. Any good quantitatively trained social scientist can use a number of identification techniques to make retrospective data distinguish between whether the "pistol" or the "target" is different.
Posts: 11497 | Location: Williamsburg, VA | Registered: 19 July 2005
The omicron variant is causing an increasing share of coronavirus infections in the U.S., though its climb to dominance has been gentler than earlier estimates indicated, according to an updated federal model.
Omicron accounted for an estimated 58.6% of sequenced U.S. virus cases in the week ending Dec. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Nowcast model showed Tuesday, up from an estimated 22.5% a week earlier. The once-dominant delta variant accounted for 41.1% of cases in the most recent period, according to the CDC.
Nowcast estimates levels of variant prevalence based on genomic-sequencing data.
The week-earlier figure marks a substantial revision from a previous estimate, which said the omicron variant was responsible for 73% of sequenced infections. That reading suggested that omicron had rocketed to dominance practically overnight, leaping from just 3% of all cases in the preceding week.
A CDC spokesperson said that additional data that came in caused the agency to reduce the earlier proportion of omicron. The agency is still seeing a steady increase in the incidence of the variant, the spokesperson said.
1 in 50 Manhattan Residents Infected With COVID in the Last Week
Positivity and transmission rates are soaring in New York City, which accounts for a significant percentage of all new COVID cases nationally
As of Sunday the 7-day average of positive tests for city residents was 19.97%, an astronomical figure without recent precedent. Meanwhile, daily hospitalizations with COVID-like symptoms are now running double where they were just two weeks ago, and more than triple what the city said would "normally" be expected this time of year.
It certainly might not seem like it given the pandemic mayhem we’ve had, but the original form of SARS-CoV-2 was a bit of a slowpoke. After infiltrating our bodies, the virus would typically brew for about five or six days before symptoms kicked in. In the many months since that now-defunct version of the virus emerged, new variants have arrived to speed the timeline up. Estimates for this exposure-to-symptom gap, called the incubation period, clocked in at about five days for Alpha and four days for Delta. Now word has it that the newest kid on the pandemic block, Omicron, may have ratcheted it down to as little as three.
Many of the antibodies we marshaled against previous versions of the coronavirus don’t recognize Omicron very well, and won’t be able to sequester it before it foists itself into cells. Eventually, a vaccine- or infection-trained immune system will “catch up,” Ryan McNamara, a virologist at Harvard Medical School, told me, churning out more antibodies and launching an army of T cells that can quell the virus before it begets serious disease.