Sajid Javid was not 'transparent' about Omicron data says expert
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Recent confirmation that Omicron is sweeping the globe at full tilt has fanned concerns the mutant could thwart efforts to defeat the coronavirus. Latest figures revealed a nearly six-fold increase in Omicron infections in the space of one week. Officials now say the UK could see more than one million Omicron infections by the end of the month if current trends continue. But while much about the Omicron remains unknown, preliminary data suggest a booster shot confers better protection against the strain. Of the data that is at our disposal, one symptom is being reported in 83 percent of breakthrough infections after two doses of the mRNA vaccine.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “An infection of a fully vaccinated person is referred to as a vaccine breakthrough infection.”
Health bodies are conducting large-scale trials to determine whether infection with Omicron in fully vaccinated individuals causes more severe illness than previous strains.
But smaller-scale studies have started yielding valuable sets of data, broadening our knowledge of the risks involved.
One study conducted in Norway has suggested 83 percent of individuals vaccinated with two mRNA vaccines report having a cough after contracting Omicron.
READ MORE: Show us your workings! Omicron Covid doomsters FLAWED – ‘pessimistic’ SAGE blasted
The study was performed on the 111 party attendees who came into contact with a positive case for the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant up to December 13.
All of the positive samples for the attendees were screened in various local laboratories using markers suited to differentiate Omicron from the hitherto predominant Delta variant.
The team wrote: “Respondents had an average of 39 years and 48 of them were women. Most respondents were fully vaccinated. Eighty-nine percent of the respondents had received two doses of mRNA vaccines. None reported having a booster dose.”
The results revealed that of the 111 respondents, 66 (59 percent) were confirmed Omicron cases, and 15 (14 percent) were probable Omicron cases.
The incubation period for symptomatic cases ranged from zero to eight days with a median of three days.
The researchers continued: “One case was asymptomatic and 74 (91 percent) reported at least three symptoms.
“Among the 81 cases, the most common symptoms were cough (83 percent), followed by runny/stuffy nose (78 percent), fatigue/lethargy (74 percent), sore throat (72 percent), headache (68 percent) and fever (54 percent).
“The duration of symptoms cannot be estimated accurately since 62 (78 percent) of the 80 symptomatic cases were still experiencing symptoms at the time of the interviews.”
Participants were also asked to grade the severity of their symptoms from one (no symptoms) to five (severe symptoms).
Among all the respondents, 42 percent reported level three symptoms, whereas 11 percent reported level four symptoms.
“It is important to further strengthen communication about the need to stay at home when experiencing symptoms, regardless of the cause,” concluded the researchers.
A major limitation of the study is the size of its cohort, which comprised just 111 participants, and even fewer positive cases of Omicron.
But larger studies underway are analysing thousands of coronavirus specimens collected each week through laboratories, which should enable revision of earlier data.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has so far warned that “the Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown.
“CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.”
British health officials have confirmed that a booster dose of the vaccine is necessary to confer stronger protection against symptomatic illness and death from the novel Omicron variant.
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