7 hr 11 min agoUS official: There will be “stark difference” between vaccinated and unvaccinated people’s Omicron experienceFrom CNN’s Naomi Thomas
US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy (right) speaks to anchor Tony Dokoupil on “CBS Mornings” on Monday 20 December 2021 (CBS)Omicron will lead to a spike in cases in the upcoming weeks, but those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated will have a “stark difference” in experience, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told anchor Tony Dokoupil on “CBS Mornings” Monday.
“In the coming weeks, Tony, we are going to see a spike in cases. And that’s because Omicron is incredibly transmissible, and you know, we have to be prepared for that,” Murthy said. “But there will be a stark difference between the experience of those who are vaccinated and boosted versus those who are unvaccinated.”For people who have maximum protection from vaccines and boosters, Murthy said that they either won’t get an infection, or if they do, it will most likely be mild.
“If you are unvaccinated, I’m worried about you. I’m worried that your risk of being hospitalized, or God forbid, losing your life to this virus, is quite significant,” Murthy said. “It still remains the case that getting vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect yourself, even against Omicron.”
5 hr 42 min agoModerna’s Omicron-specific booster could start clinical trials early next yearFrom CNN’s Jacqueline Howard
A pharmacist prepares a syringe with a dose of Moderna vaccine during a vaccination campaign at the headquarters of the Rhineland-Palatinate Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga), on 20 December 2021, Rhineland-Palatinate, Bad Kreuznach, Germany (Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance/Getty Images)Biotechnology company Moderna continues to work on developing Covid-19 boosters that specifically target certain variants, including Delta and Omicron, Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of the company, said Monday.
“We’re going to continue to advance an Omicron-specific booster into clinical trials in early 2022,” Hoge said during a company conference call.
For now, Moderna plans to focus its “immediate efforts” around Omicron on advancing the current vaccine that is already available, Hoge said.
Moderna’s current coronavirus vaccine booster is authorized for emergency use in the United States and administered as a half-dose at 50 micrograms.
Moderna announced Monday that preliminary data suggests its half-dose booster shot increased antibody levels 37-fold against Omicron compared with the levels seen when a fully vaccinated person does not receive a booster – but a larger-sized dose of the booster, at 100 micrograms, increases antibody levels 83-fold.
7 hr 16 min agoHere’s why you should be cautious in using South Africa’s Omicron trajectory as a model for the USFrom CNN’s Aditi Sangal
Earlier on Monday, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, national chair of the South African Medical Association, said Covid-19 case numbers in the country have started to decline. However, the United States and South Africa have key differences, which create “issues with extrapolation” on how the Omicron variant may behave in the two countries, according to Dr. Leana Wen.
“It looks like they were looking at a trajectory of three to four weeks of Omicron really being dominant and driving the number of infections, and now it’s trending down again. In the US, there are some issues with extrapolation,” Wen explained.
Omicron may take time to get to some parts of the US.
“We have a lot of different parts of the country, including some that are not well-vaccinated. Other parts where it might take a little bit of time for Omicron to get to. So I don’t think we could say that the US as a whole will be out of this in three to four weeks. It might be a case of rolling cases, where there are large numbers of infection in parts of the country that then cycle to others,” Wen said.
The population makeup is different.
“South Africa has a much younger population. The individuals also who were initially infected tended to be young people. So even if they were unvaccinated, the chance of them becoming severely ill is relatively low. Here in the US, we have not yet seen what happens when Omicron rips through nursing homes, as an example,” Wen added.
“I would really hesitate to say that Omicron is somehow going to not cause severe disease in the US even if it hasn’t overwhelmed hospital systems in South Africa,” she said Monday.
7 hr 39 min agoSouth Africa is “over the curve,” says chair of national medical associationFrom CNN’s Naomi Thomas and Aditi Sangal
A technician uses a multi-channel pipette dropper to dispense material during Covid-19 antibody neutralization testing in a laboratory at the African Health Research Institute (AHRI) in Durban, South Africa, on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. South Africas hospital admission rate as a percentage of new Covid-19 cases identified dropped sharply in the second week of the current infection wave driven by the omicron variant, compared with the same week of the third wave. (Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg/Getty Images)Covid-19 case numbers in South Africa have started to decline, said Dr. Angelique Coetzee, national chair of the South African Medical Association, on Monday.
“What we currently see is our cases, sort of, we’re over the curve – it’s sort of coming down. You know, in Gauteng, which was the epicenter, the numbers are much lower,” Coetzee told CNN.
While she did note that Covid-19 is still spreading in other areas of the country because of the holidays, “in total, if you look at our numbers, it’s going down.”
The positivity rate is still high at around 30%, she added.
“The reason is that people go and test. There’s a lot of testing done. Incidentally, since the 9th of December, it seems there are more people going for tests than going to get their vaccines. It’s very interesting to look at the behavior of people,” she told CNN.
The Omicron variant has not caused the death rate to spike and the cases are “much, much” less severe than Delta cases, and the Coetzee said.
6 hr 55 min agoUK Prime Minister to chair Cabinet meeting over Covid-19 measures From CNN’s Sarah Dean
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks outside a back entrance to 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain, December 20, 2021. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)The UK government will hold a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 2 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) to provide an update on the latest Covid-19 situation, his office said Monday.
The meeting comes amid speculation that further restrictions or a lockdown is being considered over the Christmas period due to a surge in cases, and warnings from government scientists that hospitalizations could reach 3,000 per day in England.
“At this point, we’re still monitoring the data an
The boosted and the unvaccinated will have different outcomes as cases spike, surgeon general says
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