World leaders — from top provincial physicians and go-to organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — are preparing for another year of COVID-19 announcements. Since the first pandemic broadcasts referencing Wuhan, China; global citizens have routinely been alarmed by emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus). There are no medical indications of infections waning beyond the use of ongoing vaccinations, mask-wearing, and continued social distancing parameters. Alongside The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard report of today’s 265 million confirmed Coronavirus cases and its 5 million losses, a new mutation has been identified: the Omicron variant.
Thus far, treatment for those affected by the Omicron variant is similar to others encountering infections from the preceding SARS-CoV-2 mutations. Though society’s restlessness is likely to be met with understanding, mutual comprehension of how the pandemic persists is crucial. According to the CDC, “On November 24, 2021, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, B.1.1.529, was reported to the World Health Organization… This new variant was first detected in specimens collected on November 11, 2021 in Botswana and on November 14, 2021 in South Africa.” Pinpointing an expanded variant’s nation of origin helps safeguard our population’s most vulnerable districts in real-time. Still, sensitivity concerning where upticks arise mandates thoughtful media coverage to protect everyday people.
For example, Americans have seen the consequences of a past administration mislabeling the deadly virus with illness terms like “Kung Flu,” inspiring racial divide. Additionally, there was a surge in presumably Coronavirus-related hate-driven crimes against Asian Americans afterward. Bearing this reference in mind, REVOLT previously published, “The COVID-19 Omicron variant likely spread across western Europe for over a week before it was identified on Nov. 24 in South Africa, Dutch health authorities revealed…” Respectively, each corner of the globe is susceptible to the latest coronavirus variant’s damages.
Language matters, and we are likely to reach community solutions sooner through collective consideration (for one another) and comprehensive healthcare-regulated participation. As per Science, “Omicron clearly did not develop out of one of the earlier variants of concern, such as Alpha or Delta. Instead, it appears to have evolved in parallel — and in the dark. Omicron is so different from the millions of SARS-CoV-2 genomes that have been shared publicly…” The variant has been detected in 50 countries and 19 states, confirmed Doctor Walensky, the director of the CDC, this week.
We are seeing +100k #COVID19 cases per day in the U.S. Last week, over 99% were #DeltaVariant. At least 19 states have confirmed cases of #OmicronVariant. We must act together to address current cases and prepare for the possibility of more Omicron https://t.co/3ln8b8QlAD. pic.twitter.com/jNBdMicv1i
— Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (@CDCDirector) December 7, 2021
Further, genomic surveillance is available on the internet through diverse portals, including the COVID Data Tracker’s Global Variants Report. We can skillfully navigate the conditions of the pandemic through shared information. Our nation’s first indication of exposure began “… on November 26, 2021, [when] WHO named the B.1.1.529 Omicron and classified it as a Variant of Concern (VOC). On November 30, 2021, the United States designated Omicron as a Variant of Concern, and on December 1, 2021 the first confirmed U.S. case of Omicron was identified,” advised the CDC website. Research efforts in the United States have since ensued more aggressively.
In response, STAT conducted a preliminary study and discovered “… a significant drop in how well vaccine-elicited antibodies target the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. But the variant did not completely dodge the immune fighters… The results support the hypothesis that the Omicron variant is a larger threat to immunity against COVID-19 than other variants, but experts caution that the implications for real-world protection are limited.” For context, a speculated instance where the Omicron variant breakdown could be crippling is facing frontline workers and national imports. Should a ban be set in place, similar to those of travel, regional demands potentially go without access to essential resources due to increased anxieties.
Further, STAT investigators logged a 41-fold decrease in neutralization against the Omicron variant compared to Coronavirus’ earliest appearances. Again, mapping the growing virus is possible for all people, not just administrators. Whatever one’s perspectives concerning vaccination options — keys, and district circumstances are contingent upon accessibility to public socioeconomic aiding. In support of data sharing, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center team framed memos for NPR:
“It’s been very common to use an evolutionary tree — or a family tree — of these SARS-CoV-2 viruses to catch introductions in places like Australia and Taiwan that have not had a lot of local spread… You can figure out where the importations are coming from by looking at the viral genome and checking…”
More plainly, millions of complete SARS-CoV-2 genomes are operating, and digits increase daily. President Biden has not implemented a nationwide lockdown following the Omicron outbreak. However, his travel prerequisites surrounding South Africa, among other realms, may not buy the time he assured our country has via a televised statement.
Highlighting this notion, The New York Times published, “The data suggests that vaccinated people might be vulnerable to breakthrough infections with Omicron, which is spreading rapidly in South Africa and has appeared in dozens of countries around the world.” While Africa is commonly being emphasized, headline inclusivity is necessary to paint the situation’s global severity accurately. Being exhausted by pandemic regulations and becoming negligent toward Omicron precautions potentially evolves into the difference between wellness and death.
Still, Doctor Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Director, offered optimism at this week’s virtual White House briefing voicing:
“Real-world evidence is accumulating rapidly — literally on a daily basis — to allow us to determine increase in cases, possible increase in reproductive number, and the rapid replacement of Delta by Omicron… it appears that with the cases that are seen, we are not seeing a very severe profile of disease [in America],” CNN transcribed.
Even so, the separate contractions of this mutation have circulated at an accelerated speed, causing antibodies’ strength against Omicron to decrease in those infected. Theodora Hatziioannou, a virologist at Rockefeller University, illustrated test results from a recent model to The New York Times “… results could help explain some high-profile superspreading events caused by Omicron. At an office Christmas party in Norway, the virus seems to have infected at least half of 120 vaccinated attendees.” A solid financial standing is not guaranteed to preserve the vitality of the infected. Power does not always equate to protection.
Review of all possible outcomes assists in ushering federal divisions’ policies. Doctor Sigal of the Africa Health Research Institute disclosed his collaborative COVID-19 findings on Twitter. Other institutions have comparable findings.
We have completed our first experiments on neutralization of Omicron by Pfizer BNT162b2 vaccination elicited immunity
Manuscript available at https://t.co/rGaEB9GdmS
and should be available on medRxiv in the coming days
— Alex Sigal (@sigallab) December 7, 2021
In response to increased infections, the Advisory Board backed the provided declarations by reiterating, “… the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control confirmed… cases across eight countries in Europe, including the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, and Portugal. [The Omicron variant has] also been found in other areas of the world, from Hong Kong to Israel…” Our residents might be the latest infections, but this variant requires national attention.
Across the pond, the United Kingdom’s National News investigators have registered that “…the mutation had been identified as having 30 different mutations. That is twice as many as the Delta variant, which has become the most prominent variant in the UK…” Some people believe vaccination protocols challenge their free will, implying the Omicron variant notices are less detrimental than those of Delta so far stateside. As differing viewpoints invite analyses on whether or not the unvaccinated are operating from a position of willful ignorance — the most accurate means of survival may be evaluating ongoing medical suggestions and conveying the facts.