Analysis: Omicron May Be Less Dangerous, But Ties In The United States | News Today

Analysis: Omicron May Be Less Dangerous, But Ties In The United States

| Local News | Usa news

The country is buried in an avalanche of new infections, but after two exhausting and demoralizing years the momentum of millions to try to find a way to live more normally alongside the disease has never been stronger. Finding the right balance is complicated since the pandemic has reached its most paradoxical phase to date.
Signs of a worsening winter crisis are appearing everywhere even as new hope emerges that a virus that has wrecked the past two years may not be so frightening in its latest form. It is also shocking that the infection curves rise straight up in vertical lines as hospitals overflow, but many Americans who contract Covid-19 for the first time ignore it as if it were a mild cold. .
The situation has led to a debate in Washington, DC – where President Joe Biden is expected to tackle the rapid spread of Omicron on Tuesday – at governors’ mansions, corporate boardrooms, schools and living rooms. coast to coast.
There is particular confusion in education, which is leading parents to distraction for the umpteenth time in the pandemic and again threatens to have major economic consequences if key workers cannot secure child care. Schools in Detroit, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Cleveland and Washington are overwhelmed by the virus and are returning to virtual learning or delaying classes for at least a few days after the holidays. And Dr. James Versalovic, chief pathologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, warned Monday of a “staggering” number of children in his wards grappling with Omicron.
But on the same day, newly sworn-in New York mayor Eric Adams bragged about his “arrogance” and told the Big Apple – where infections are skyrocketing – not to “wallow in Covid” then that he was discussing teachers seeking similar treatment as colleagues in other places that are going virtual. Deepening the contradictions, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a fellow Democrat, warned that “we are in the wrong place” as the winter wave hits. It’s also surprising how NFL stadiums are stranded as the playoffs loom in a sign of normalcy, but thousands of airline flights are canceled as flight crews call in for sick people.

A despicable combination

While the signals seem contradictory, they can be rationalized, but integrating them into a cohesive national response to a pandemic that has continually overtaken political leaders and deepened national divisions is another thing.

The most important key to understanding the parallel realities of Covid is that the Omicron variant is much more infectious than the Delta version which it overtakes but which, according to growing evidence, generally causes less severe illness.

This dastardly combination of increased transmissibility but seemingly more moderate disease challenges the fine balance between mitigation and preserving a semblance of normal life forged in previous waves of infection. It also means that political leaders and businesses are questioning whether a virus that manifests itself in mild illness and even no symptoms for many people should continue to threaten the critical infrastructure and basic services that underpin American life.

Some elected officials err on the side of caution, including those who close schools, at least for a while. This makes sense, as it’s difficult to understand how to keep in-person learning operational if teachers are positive and need to isolate themselves. But other leaders, like Adams, are giving the impression that the country is waging the final war on the pathogen as news has just begun. His optimism is the luxury of a mayor with a new term.

But that can put him in danger of falling into the trap of many leaders before him – underestimating Covid-19. Three days into his tenure, Adams seemed to implicitly admit that some Republicans who have long argued that epidemiological mitigation has gone too far may have been right. Remarkably, he was on the same wavelength Monday as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican opponent of mask mandates who swore Omicron would not close schools in the Sunshine State, with his usual flair for a title. Politics.

But the idea that Omicron is a tame foe shifts the risk equation too much towards an underestimation of the virus and could lead to dangerous shortcuts.

“This account that this is just a mild virus is not correct,” Dr Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine said Monday, to CNN’s Jake Tapper.

What parents need to know about returning children to school during Omicron
“We just did a terrible job of immunizing our children across the country.… So while there is a lot of happy talk about the Omicron variant, a less severe disease, when you add all the factors… we have we. have a very serious situation that we are facing in this country, especially for children. ”Targeting this crisis, the United States Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday an emergency use authorization for vaccine boosters Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 for adolescents aged 12 to 15. injections and a recommended booster from six months to five months, and it allowed a third dose of the primary series for some immunocompromised children aged 5 to 11.

As more Americans tire of the fight, conservative critics of public health officials may want to avoid the temptation to gloat. Even now, most of the Americans hospitalized and dying in the Omicron wave (and the Delta wave that still rages in some districts) are the ones who have refused free and effective vaccines, amid a torrent of misinformation about inoculations fueled by many GOP politicians and conservative media hosts.

The best way to stay protected against serious illness, hospitalization, or death is to get vaccinated and boosted, whether the Omicron variant is less potent or not. Many of the 820,000 Americans who died from the disease could be alive if some Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, had not made public health a victim of their political ambitions and ignored science and pushed for economic openings. premature in 2020.

Hospitals still hammered

And living with the virus is easier said than done.

One of Omicron’s cruelest quirks is that while it seems easier for most people to get rid of, its increased transmissibility means that even a smaller percentage of patients who get seriously ill in this wave. that in others could buckle the health systems and stretch the hero further. doctors and nurses who have been wrung out by the pandemic. As an example, national hospitalizations hit 100,000 on Monday for the first time in four months and most experts expect them to increase. System overload could also seriously decrease the quality of care for people with other illnesses, especially chronic illnesses like heart attacks or strokes.

But the nature of this pandemic is that it poses questions that are for the most part impossible to answer satisfactorily – especially those that cut across the fractured political realm. Senator Marco Rubio, for example, welcomed the sight of full football stadiums this weekend and warned in a tweet of “irrational hysteria” sparked by Omicron. But the Florida Republican was reprimanded by the president’s chief medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, who noted on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that 1,200 deaths on average daily from Covid- 19 were “not an insignificant situation”.

But even Fauci has argued in recent days that the country is recalibrating its risk tolerance and said last week that no activity in a pandemic is completely safe.

Public health authorities have, for example, begun to adapt their approach, as the infectious properties of Omicron threaten to rapidly drain the workforce and threaten the capacity of hospitals, police and departments. emergency. Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention halved the recommended isolation period for those who test positive and who are asymptomatic or whose symptoms decrease to five days, provided they wear a mask for an additional five days. Still, there’s confusion here as well, and Fauci told CNN on Sunday that clearer advice, possibly involving a testing component, was ahead. But even though the new CDC guidelines clarify the problem, many Americans find it impossible to get tests amid a nationwide shortage and therefore may be unable to comply.

This is just another reason for the lingering feeling in the country that everyone is groping not only for an exit from the pandemic and its deprivations – which seems unrealistic – but for an altered lifestyle that is sustainable. But despite hopes for an early Omicron spike, no one can say for sure how long he will rule, or whether it will be followed by another disturbing and chaotic variation.

Local News Usa News Analysis: Omicron May Be Less Dangerous, But Ties In The United States

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