NPR THIS AM: J. Harris: Some British physicians report that most of the hospitalized patients in England are unvaccinated. Clinically, some doctors feel that Omicron is just as virulent as is Delta. 

They recommend vaccinations and boosters. 


Moderna said lab tests of its booster vaccine show it significantly raises the level of antibodies that can thwart the Omicron variant.


(J. Harris: A readable and very worrisome article)

This highly vaccinated nation says the pandemic’s toughest month is just beginning

”…The next month will be the hardest period of the pandemic,” said Tyra Grove Krause, the chief epidemiologist at Denmark’s State Serum Institute…”This will overwhelm hospitals,…I don’t have any doubt about it….She likened the virus to a flood, and she described how vaccines, under earlier variants, had acted like two barrier walls safeguarding the health system. One barrier resulted from the vaccines’ ability to reduce the probability of infection, keeping spread low. The other barrier stemmed from the diminished likelihood of severe sickness and death. Both barriers had some holes, but together, they ensured that the floodwaters never got too high….But now, she said, the first barrier has been largely removed. Denmark’s data shows people with two doses to be just as vulnerable to omicron infection as the unvaccinated. Those who’ve received boosters have better protection — a sign of hope — but meanwhile, about 3 in 4 Danes have yet to receive a third dose, making the majority of the country vulnerable.

”Before this wave, Denmark had never seen more than 5,000 cases in a day. On Friday, it logged more than 11,000 new cases. Within a week, in a moderate scenario, case numbers could hit 27,000. And into January? The institute’s estimates climb higher still, off the Y-axis…Denmark’s projections are taken seriously around the world, because they are informed by an all-encompassing coronavirus surveillance system designed specifically for moments like this — when the nature of the virus is quickly shifting.

”What that data has shown, so far, is that the hospitalization rate is slightly lower for omicron than it is for delta — though because hospitalizations lag behind infections, and because omicron infections hit only recently, scientists say the results will be more meaningful in a couple of weeks…Scientists say they feel trepidation — and also a bit of awe — about what they are seeing: an incredibly fit virus, winning a turf war against delta. As of Monday — the most recent day with complete, publicly released data — omicron accounted for 26.8 percent of cases. A week earlier, omicron’s share had been 4.9 percent.

”Perhaps, he said, omicron’s origins are connected to HIV, as the virus could have come from an immunocompromised person whose body couldn’t kill off the virus, which was able to grow and change. Even in Danish hospitals, he said, there are people who have had the coronavirus for seven or eight months. In Denmark, the changes are being monitored; in most places, they are t…He thinks the next month will be brutal, but after that? It’s hard to say. Infected people, and there will be many, could come away with a deepened protection — pushing the coronavirus into something less menacing. But he also said the virus is impossible to eradicate fully. Maybe it could jump into rodents. Then maybe back into humans, re-formed. He described the coronavirus as a “master mutator,” and clearly, with vaccination, humans are driving the virus into a corner, where it can either weaken or change…“It could come out on the other end even weaker,” Fomsgaard said. “But that is risky business. It might hit another jackpot mutation.”

New York coronavirus cases hit record high for second straight day as omicron upends holiday plans

”…On Saturday, New York state set a record for the second day in a row with more than 21,900 reported daily cases, a number not seen even during the grim waves of last winter and spring, according to data analyzed by The Washington Post, although testing was less widely available in the early days. The rapidly climbing numbers have sparked concern the state’s outbreak could spell a sign of what’s to come elsewhere.”



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