17 votes

World is put on high alert over the Omicron coronavirus variant

11 comments

  1. Adys
    Link
    I've been reading a few too many academic opinions on this the past day or so. Belgium is freaking out a bit because of a case detected there and I'm going back to Brussels tomorrow, so I figured...
    • Exemplary

    I've been reading a few too many academic opinions on this the past day or so. Belgium is freaking out a bit because of a case detected there and I'm going back to Brussels tomorrow, so I figured better stay informed.

    One misreporting is that the Omicron variant is absolutely going to take over Delta, is wildly more transmissible etc. This is not known, right now. Omicron hasn't really been up against Delta yet. Cases where it spread were at an all-time low, so it didn't have to compete with the Delta variant. How it spreads once in places currently experiencing a new Delta wave (eg. Europe) is anyone's guess.

    Another misreporting is that vaccines are going to be ineffective against the variant. "Highly mutated" is the keyword I keep encountering which seems to be triggering reporters. But it's not really the "amount" of mutations that will affect vaccine or NI efficacy. Once again, we don't really know, because Africa's access to vaccines is abysmal.

    So there are charts flying around that can look scary. I came across one earlier today that was showcasing how Omicron has become dominant in SA basically as fast as Delta originally did if not faster. But once again, case count was very low, whereas Delta had the original virus to compete with. To make a comparison, it's like winning a single Rock Paper Scissors game, versus winning a 128-player tournament of BO5 RPS.

    So to recap, the only thing we really know so far is that my analogies need work.

    22 votes
  2. [6]
    moocow1452
    Link
    Not a whole lot to say until we know exactly how much it's capable of, but a new variant right before the holiday season can't be good, especially if it's as transmissible as observed, and we...

    Not a whole lot to say until we know exactly how much it's capable of, but a new variant right before the holiday season can't be good, especially if it's as transmissible as observed, and we aren't sure how vaccine resistance plays into it.

    Also, Omicron sounds like the next guy the Avengers have to fight, so branding is on point.

    11 votes
    1. [5]
      vord
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Thanksgiving just happened in the USA, so anticipate a giant spike in cases reported starting next week. I feel like the USA has kinda collectively decided that we're just gonna let it rampage...

      Thanksgiving just happened in the USA, so anticipate a giant spike in cases reported starting next week.

      I feel like the USA has kinda collectively decided that we're just gonna let it rampage till it burns out. Myself included if I'm being honest with myself.

      It's kinda hit a point where I hope we can churn out vaccinnes fast enough to keep up with the variants whilest the careless die off quick enough to slow their spread.

      If you're not vaccinnated, but can, and doing so won't literally kill you: Swallow your pride, get off your ass, and fucking do it.

      Even if you re vaccinnated, if you're not wearing a mask indoors again, you'd better start.

      I weep for our children.

      10 votes
      1. [2]
        vektor
        Link Parent
        Hold your horses. The virus can only be transmitted if it's even there. Unless this variant has been sneaking around a fair bit, what we're seeing in the wider world (outside... Africa?) is going...

        Thanksgiving just happened in the USA, so anticipate a giant spike in cases reported starting next week.

        Hold your horses. The virus can only be transmitted if it's even there. Unless this variant has been sneaking around a fair bit, what we're seeing in the wider world (outside... Africa?) is going to be largely dominated by initial "seeding" from Africa. Granted, holidays will massively boost the spread of what's already there, but what's not here can't spread. So if you assume that there's already a few hundred active cases in the US, then you can expect maybe a 1000 cases as result of holiday transmission, pessimistically. That's not great, but in the grand scheme of things (case numbers in the US over all variants) that's not concerning. The new variant will take a while (a couple of months) to displace Delta, if it even is capable of that.

        That said: Let's not mess around. My country is seeing more cases currently than ever before. That alone is plenty reason to stay home, get a cup of tea and wait till your booster appointment. Now is no better a time to freak out than once the science is in on what Omicron can do.

        10 votes
        1. vord
          Link Parent
          I'm not just talking Omnicron, but all coronovirus cases. A lot of states are already rampaging.

          I'm not just talking Omnicron, but all coronovirus cases.

          A lot of states are already rampaging.

          2 votes
      2. hamstergeddon
        Link Parent
        Well on the upside, this has motivated me to schedule my booster appointment and buy another pack of masks (we ran out a while ago). Now to count down the days until <5yo's can get the vaccine so...

        Well on the upside, this has motivated me to schedule my booster appointment and buy another pack of masks (we ran out a while ago). Now to count down the days until <5yo's can get the vaccine so my kids can be protected. Getting my 2 year olds to wear masks is impossible :(

        10 votes
      3. teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        I don’t think your plea applies to the people that will read it. So here’s a more practical message: many/most of the people reading this can get a booster shot scheduled now. Please do that...

        I don’t think your plea applies to the people that will read it. So here’s a more practical message: many/most of the people reading this can get a booster shot scheduled now. Please do that before traveling next month.

        7 votes
  3. [4]
    vord
    Link
    Ok, so what exactly is the problem with a travel ban? Even if it does nothing, how çould it hurt? Given how quickly coronovirus spreads, I feel like even unknowingly preventing a handful of...

    The South African government has taken an issue with the travel bans, pointing out in a statement that the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention "strongly discourages" travel bans for people originating from countries that have reported the variant.
    "Over the duration of this pandemic, we have observed that imposing bans on travelers from countries where a new variant is reported has not yielded a meaningful outcome," the statement said.

    Ok, so what exactly is the problem with a travel ban? Even if it does nothing, how çould it hurt? Given how quickly coronovirus spreads, I feel like even unknowingly preventing a handful of infected from travelling would be a net win.

    2 votes
    1. Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      Travel bans basically never stop residents from traveling back, which means the virus will still spread. A ban is not the solution. Stronger testing and isolation requirements for people flying...

      Travel bans basically never stop residents from traveling back, which means the virus will still spread.

      A ban is not the solution. Stronger testing and isolation requirements for people flying in/out and contact tracing are more likely to reduce/slow spread.

      11 votes
    2. skybrian
      Link Parent
      The cost is that it hurts the people are stranded or have important reasons to travel. Consider people who have family in both places. For immigrants this is especially likely. The benefit is that...

      The cost is that it hurts the people are stranded or have important reasons to travel. Consider people who have family in both places. For immigrants this is especially likely.

      The benefit is that it delays the spread to some unknown extent, which buys time to prepare. What specifically are people doing to prepare?

      Doing this cost-benefit analysis doesn't seem all that easy to me. I can see arguments either way.

      I agree that having quarantines instead of bans seems more humane.

      7 votes
    3. teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      Wouldn't travel bans just shift the infection curve over by a few days?

      Wouldn't travel bans just shift the infection curve over by a few days?

      3 votes