The World Health Organization (WHO) urged individuals to cancel some of their gathering holiday plans to ensure public health as the most-infectious Omicron variant spreads worldwide. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director of the WHO, said that to cancel an event is better than to cancel a life. Further, he said that it would mean delaying or canceling events in some cases.
Tedros’ comments came as health experts declared that the new variant is now the dominant variant in the United States. In addition, the WHO director added that there was clear evidence that Omicron is significantly quicker than the Delta variant.
🚨”Difficult Decisions Must Be Made” – WHO urges cancelling some holiday events over Omicron fears.
Meanwhile US officials are giving opposite advice and are encouraging people to go out and spend to help the Biden Economy. pic.twitter.com/YwciyqVXOu
— Alexander Higgins (@kr3at) December 20, 2021
Countries have Different Opinions on Lockdown During Christmas Holidays
Several nations – including Germany and France – triggered Coronavirus restrictions and enforced travel restrictions to curb the spread of Omicron. The Netherlands also announced a strict lockdown over the Christmas holiday season. On Monday, the White House declared that U.S. President Joe Biden was not planning on locking the nation down. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. top infectious disease expert, warned that travel during the Christmas holidays would increase the spread of the highly contagious variant even among the fully vaccinated.
The U.S. States Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised American nationals against travel to eight places, including Lebanon, Finland, Spain, and Chad. San Marino, Bonaire, Gibraltar, and Monaco also added their Level 4 restrictions: Very High Classification. On Monday, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that the administration was required to reserve the chance of announcing new rules in England as Omicron cases rushed but didn’t declare additional restrictions. The administration canceled the celebrations of the New Year in London’s Trafalgar Square over the interest of public safety, according to the statement of Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Variant of Concern
The WHO classified the Omicron – first detected in South Africa – as a variant of concern. During the press conference, the WHO head told reporters Monday that everybody is sick of the pandemic and now wants to spend time with family and friends. All of us want to get back to everyday life. Furthermore, the best way to do this for countries and individuals is to make tough decisions to protect everyone across the world.
Dr. Tedros stressed that the coronavirus pandemic could be ended in the next year by ensuring that seventy percent of the population in every nation globally vaccinated by the middle of the following year. In addition, he said China must be forthcoming with relevant statistics. Finally, the world needs to continue to spot the virus’s origins and need to push harder and learn from what happened this time to react better in the future.
On Monday, Soumya Swaminathan, the chief scientist of the WHO, said that it would be foolish to conclude from preliminary evidence that Omicron was a less contagious variant than previous ones. Additionally, she warned that all health systems would be under strain with the new cases growing.
Moderna Initial Booster Information Shows Good Results on Omicron
On Monday, Moderna said that the booster shot of its Coronavirus vaccine should offer protection against the fast-spreading Omicron variant. The drugmaker said lab tests revealed that the half-dose booster dose increased by thirty-seven times the level of defusing antibodies to combat Omicron. Moreover, a full-shot booster of Moderna was even more potent, prompting an eighty-three-fold jump in antibody levels, although with a surge in the usual side effects.
Moderna announced that the initial laboratory statistics in a press release had not undergone scientific review. Likewise, the testing of Pfizer found its Coronavirus vaccine initiated a big jump in Omicron-fighting antibodies. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, both made with messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) technology. Countries across the world used the same technology to fight the pandemic.
Other research suggests the vaccine still should provide reasonable protection against severe illness if individuals experience a breakthrough infection. Both Pfizer and Moderna are developing vaccine doses to match the Omicron variant better to curb it more efficiently.
Omicron Variant Infections Appears No Less Severe than Delta Variant
According to preliminary statistics from the United Kingdom, Omicron variant-caused infections don’t appear to be less severe than infections from the Delta variant. Scientists at Imperial College London compared around eleven thousand three hundred people with likely or confirmed Omicron cases with about two hundred thousand individuals infected with other variants.
The effectiveness of vaccines in the United Kingdom against symptomatic Omicron infection ranged from zero percent to twenty percent after two shots and from fifty-five percent to eighty percent following a booster shot. Furthermore, the report projected that after taking people’s risk factors into account, the odds of reinfection with the Omicron variant are around 5.4 times more than for reinfection with the Delta variant.
Research of healthcare workers in the pre-Omicron era projected that the previous Coronavirus infection offered eighty-five percent protection against another infection over six months. In the case of Omicron, it may be as low as nineteen percent.
Coronavirus Lowers Sperm Count in Males
Motility and sperm count in males may be low for months after contracting with the Coronavirus. Researchers found that sperm quality reduced for months for some individuals after recovery from the Coronavirus. Similarly, they noticed that semen itself was not infectious. But among thirty-five men who provided samples within one month after recovery from symptomatic COVID-19 infection, drops in sperm motility were evident in sixty percent, and sperm counts declined in thirty-seven percent.
On Monday, as reported in Fertility and Sterility, semen samples were obtained from one hundred and twenty Belgian males with an average age of thirty-five years, at an average of fifty-two days after they recovered from their Coronavirus symptoms. Among fifty-one males tested between thirty and sixty days after recovery, thirty-seven percent had impaired sperm motility, and twenty-nine percent had low sperm counts. In addition, among thirty-four males who provided semen samples at least sixty days after recovery, sperm motility reduced in men by twenty-eight percent, and sperm counts were low in six percent.