US coronavirus: Officials urge vaccination in light of Omicron concerns, with experts warning even mild Covid infections pose a greater risk of mutating

In the case of Omicron variant has been confirmed in at least 18 countries and territories as of Tuesday. And although no cases have been found in the US, officials are working to do what they can before the expected variant emerges.

The New York City government is now recommending that people wear masks when indoors in public places, regardless of immunization status, as Canada announced it has detected 3 cases of Omicron disease in neighboring provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

“We anticipate detecting Omicron in New York in the coming days based on what we know about its global spread,” said city health commissioner Dr Dave Chokshi. “There are still many unknowns about Omicron since it is so early, but studies are underway and we will know more about the variant in the coming weeks.”

Be aware of the following rampant increase in coronavirus cases holiday last year, state and local leaders are worried that current infection rates have facilitated another surge, with or without new variants. Nationwide infection levels have yet to return to their summer lows, left unattended by a cluster of cases largely triggered by the spread of the virus. Delta variant, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Citing “hot spots” in the western and northern parts of the state, New York Governor Kathy Hochul warned Monday that “the winter surge could be here, or we’re just getting started.”

Cases and hospitalizations are trending up, she said, and the Omicron variant could contribute to a reduction in the number of available hospital beds.

Americans face at least 2 weeks of uncertainty as scientists work to answer 3 key questions about new Omicron variant

“If this new variant occurs like a hurricane, and vaccines and boosters don’t fight it as much as we hope it will – and we don’t have enough data right now. – then we will consider Hochul said.

Health professionals in New York and across the country are emphasizing that vaccination is strongest defense against new variants because they reduce spread and, therefore, mutagenicity.

Dr. Jorge E. Rodriguez, an internal medicine specialist and CNN medical analyst, said that people who are not vaccinated often take longer to beat the infection back and need to be vaccinated.

“The virus mutates when people get infected. It doesn’t mutate in the air, so even though you were infected and you did well, guess what. You most likely contributed to the more powerful mutations. , so there He said:

About 59.3% of the US population is fully immunized, based on latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and about 20.5% of fully vaccinated people received a booster dose.
A Covid-19 vaccination is performed at an outdoor walking site in Washington, DC, on November 29, 2021.

Get your booster, CDC urges

CDC enhance its recommendations The second involves booster shots for those already vaccinated due to the presence of the Omicron variant.

Previously, the agency said people should get a booster shot if they’re 50 or older, or 18 or older and living in long-term care. Otherwise, it advises that anyone 18 years of age or older can get a booster shot. Now the word “should” applies to everyone 18 years of age and older.

“I strongly encourage the 47 million unvaccinated adults to get vaccinated as soon as possible and vaccinate both children and adolescents in their families, because strong immunity prevents disease. serious,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

How to fight Covid-19 while scientists wait for answers on Omicron

“The best chance we have of banishing the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

“Of course, we still have a serious increase in the Delta variant in the US, we should be thinking about that,” he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Monday. “Your best defense against Delta is vaccination, and if you’ve been vaccinated and six months have passed since you took Pfizer or Moderna, get a booster shot, two months from J&J ( Johnson & Johnson), get a booster shot.”

“That’s why, but now let’s add Omicron to the mix,” he said. “And we believe this new variant, which may be coming to our shores, will also be the kind of vaccine and booster that can help you.”

Boosters for those under 18 may soon be available. Pfizer is expected to seek permission from the Food and Drug Administration about giving booster vaccinations to 16- to 17-year-olds, a source familiar with the plan told CNN. Currently, only people 18 years of age or older are eligible for a booster shot six months after their second dose of Pfizer vaccine.

Travel restrictions established as Omicron is studied

The Biden Administration move quickly As news of the arrival of Omicron became available, travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries began Monday.

The Omicron variant has become the dominant strain of coronavirus in South Africa – where scientists first discovered and reported it – less than two weeks after it was first discovered. In contrast, the Delta variant took several months to become the dominant strain there earlier this year.

However, at least one health expert says the travel ban is not really working to stop the spread of coronavirus variants.

“I think this is really an illusion of protection,” CNN medical analyst Dr Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on Monday. . “The metaphor I’ve been using – it’s like locking a mesh door. You feel like you’ve done something to protect yourself, but you haven’t.”

Travel restrictions by country after outbreak of variant Omicron
Foreign visitors to the US must Fully vaccinated and have been tested, Reiner said, and those measures are effective in reducing virus entry. But Reiner and some other scientists think Omicron may already be present in the US.

“I’m not sure what this ban will accomplish, other than adding some incentive to other countries that may be looking to sequence and identify robust variants,” Reiner said. “This might encourage those countries to, you know, step back from that a little bit because no good deed goes unpunished.”

The potential for the spread of the virus is likely to increase, causing demand understand variation an international priority. World Health Organization Covid-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

“I think we’ll get some information on transmissibility and severity in the coming days, maybe a week or two,” Van Kerkhove said, adding, “I’d like to take the opportunity.” This is to thank the amazing scientists in South Africa who have been so outspoken in sharing this information with us.”

CNN’s Jen Christensen, Deidre McPhillips, Kristina Sgueglia, Maggie Fox, Virginia Langmaid, Kaitlan Collins, Paula Newton, Taylor Romine and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.


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