WorldExperts fear wave of COVID-19 in the US due...

Experts fear wave of COVID-19 in the US due to omicron variants

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With the rise in coronavirus cases in some parts of Europe and Asiascientists fear that an extra-contagious version of the omicron variant could cause the cases to increase soon also in United States.

SIGHT: Coronavirus: What is happening in European countries where restrictions have been lifted?

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Experts are also on the lookout for another mutation: a rare delta-omicron hybrid that they say doesn’t pose much of a threat at the moment, but shows just how cunning the coronavirus can be.

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According to Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, there is likely to be an increase in cases caused by the omicron subvariant BA.2 in the coming weeks.

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“It is inevitable that we will see a wave of BA.2 here,” he said.

One of the reasons? After nearly two months of declining COVID-19 cases, pandemic restrictions have been lifted across the United States. Many people are removing their masks and returning to indoor spaces like restaurants and theaters.

And the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the proportion of infections caused by BA.2 is increasing significantly. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, told ABC television’s “This Week” over the weekend that he also believes the United States is likely to face a “rebound” similar to the one it is facing. occurring in Europe, especially the UK, where the BA.2 variant is dominant. He though he said he doesn’t think it will be a “wave”.

The UK “has had the same situation that we have now,” Fauci said. “They have the BA.2. They have relaxed some restrictions, such as the use of masks indoors, and immunity has decreased” due to vaccinations and past infections.

Keri Althoff, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, warned that the CDC’s case count understates the true numbers because some people no longer get tested and others test at home and don’t report. From the results. Also, she said, not all samples are genetically sequenced to determine the variant.

It’s clear, he said, that “BA.2 is coming into the picture.”

According to scientists, one of the reasons this variant has gained ground is that it is 30% more contagious than the original omicron. Research shows that, on rare occasions, it can make people sick even if they have already had an omicron infection, although it does not appear to cause more serious illness.

The vaccines appear to be equally effective against both types of omicron, but infections are possible in vaccinated people. And experts point out that vaccination rates are lower in the United States than in the United Kingdom. About 74% of those over 12 years of age are fully vaccinated in the US, compared to 86% in the UK.

“It has to be stressed that we are not protected in this country compared to other similar countries,” Topol said.

Still, not all experts are equally concerned about the rise in BA.2 cases in the United States. Dr. James Musser, chief of genomic medicine and infectious diseases at Houston Methodist Hospital, said the variant has so far caused only 1% to 3% of cases in his hospital system. The cases there tend to coincide with what happens in the United Kingdom.

He called BA.2 “something we’re keeping an eye on” but “doesn’t keep me up at night.”

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Source: Elcomercio

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