Concerned about Omicron? Key Facts of The New Strain Explained
Omicron, a novel Covid-19 strain announced on Nov 24, has shortly sparked fears around the world and rattled the global market. By Dec 2, 375 confirmed cases and 1,256 probable cases were reported from 31 countries and regions. The new variant’s unpredictable spread has prompted multiple governments to impose stricter travel restrictions. Meanwhile, researchers and pharmaceutical companies have put issues of vaccine efficacy high on agenda. What must you know about Omicron in order to cope with it? Shanghai Dashunkang Medical Technology has summarized some key facts for you.
1.The origin of Omicron
Omicron is the novel mutation of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19. On Nov 24, WHO received the report of B.1.1.529 (later coined Omicron) from South Africa, which was first found in a specimen collected on Nov 9. Investigation revealed that the detection of Omicron coincided with the recent upsurge of SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa.
2.The characteristics of Omicron
Omicron is characterised by more than 50 mutations, the most ever recorded in a variant and tripling the amount presented in Delta. Compared with other VOCs (Variants of Concern), Omicron has increased risks of reinfection, immune evasion and could spread more rapidly.
4.The symptoms of Omicron
Temporarily, there is no evidence that Omicron would present different symptoms to other variants, based on WHO. This means a new cough, a fever, and loss of taste or smell are still the main signals. However, we are far from certain about Omicron’s real impact due to its limited cases.
5.The efficacy of current vaccines
The utmost concern for many people is the efficacy of current vaccines. Unfortunately, several pharmaceutical companies have admitted Omicron’s potential resistance to their vaccines. The chief executive of Moderna predicted that the tackling of Omicron will be much harder, and the roll-out of new vaccines may take months. However, according to Pfizer, there is reasonable confidence that patients with a booster dose could have fairly good protection against the variant.
6.To what extend has Omicron spread
Based on the newest data, 375 patients are confirmed carrying the Omicron variant. 55.9% cases are in South Africa — which is the top share — followed by 10.9% in Ghana. Other countries reporting an increase in infections include Botswana (6.3%), the United Kingdom (5.9%), and Netherland (4.3%).
7.How Omicron might affect your travel
Shortly after WHO’s Omicron alert, multiple governments announced travel restrictions targeting South Africa and nearby countries, such as Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini. Individuals and businesses are advised to pay close attention to these policies.
8.How to protect yourself against Omicron
Basic measures remain the same to reduce the risk of Omicron, such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving the ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.
Thanks for reading our essay! We hope these facts will erase some of your worries and help you get prepared for the continuing pandemic. Dashunkang sincerely wishes everyone a safe and cheerful December!
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Post time: Dec-03-2021