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Study from South Africa: Omicron Variant has 80% Lower Risk of Hospitalization

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President Biden spent the majority of his speech on Tuesday inciting fear into the American people, explaining that the spread of the omicron variant is justification for more shutdowns and vaccine mandates. He particularly chastised unvaccinated Americans, telling them it is their “patriotic duty” to receive the jab.

While the omicron variant appears to be very transmissible, there seems to be good news on the horizon. A study released by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases was printed in the medical publication MedRxiv and found South Africans who had contracted the omicron COVID-19 variant were an entire 80% less likely to be hospitalized than those who contracted its preceding variants.

The omicron data was collected for two months through November. Experts say the good news is data could show we are transitioning from a pandemic world to an endemic one. Bloomberg reports on the study, “Once admitted to the hospital, the risk of severe disease doesn’t differ from other variants, the authors led by scientists Nicole Walter and Cheryl Cohen said. Compared to delta infections in South Africa between April and November, omicron infections are associated with a 70% lower risk of severe disease, they said.”

Omicron was discovered in South Africa, with a fully vaccinated population of about 44%, on November 25. The study authors adjusted for factors that could influence results such as age, gender and whether the cases were known reinfections.

Bloomberg reports:

For severity of disease after admission, they also adjusted for the presence of other illnesses and prior immunization. The study also showed that those with omicron may have higher viral loads.

The study is “important,” though its use of so-called historic controls when comparing to the delta infections between April and November means its outcome may be biased by time issues, said Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the U.K.’s University of East Anglia.

“So even though cases of omicron were less likely to end up in hospital than cases of delta, it is not possible to say whether this is due to inherent differences in virulence or whether this is due to higher population immunity in November compared to earlier in the year,” Hunter said.

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COVID-19

Biden Says He Doesn’t Think COVID Is ‘Here To Stay’

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Joe Biden

On Friday, President Biden said he doesn’t think that COVID-19 is here to stay, but added that he does think the virus will remain around the world.

“No, I don’t think COVID is here to stay, but having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
“COVID as we’re dealing with it now is not here to stay, the normal doesn’t have to be. We have so many more tools we developed and we continue to develop that can contain COVID and other strains of COVID,” he added.

Biden’s comments come shortly after six of his former health advisers, who helped him with the COVID-19 pandemic during his presidential transition, published three opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association urging Biden to change his strategy in responding to COVID-19 to one accepting that the virus was here to stay and learning how to live with it.

“They say the first thing the administration needs to do is take a broader vision, by recognizing that Covid-19 is here to stay. In one article, Dr. Emanuel and two co-authors — Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert at New York University — pointedly note that in July, Mr. Biden proclaimed that ‘we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus,’ which in retrospect was clearly not the case,” The New York Times reported.

Biden’s comments suggest he has not yet listened to the advice of these experts, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened to reaching over 1 million new daily cases.

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COVID-19

Former COVID Advisory Board tells Biden corona now ‘one of several circulating respiratory virus’ like flu

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Covid-19

Doctors who once advised President Biden on how to handle the coronavirus are now telling him to change his strategy via a series of published articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The six doctors, Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Michael Osterholm, Celine Gounder, David Michaels, Rick Bright and Luciana Borio were members of the advisory board that worked with Biden during his transition period before taking office.

“As the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates, COVID-19 is here to stay” and therefore Biden’s national strategy must be “updated.”

“The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, eg, the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appears to confer lifelong immunity,” they wrote.

“Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection.”

The “new normal,” they explained, should be “recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more.”

The doctors also pointed out there are many treatments with varying levels of effectiveness such as remdesevir and dexamethasone, monoclonal antibody treatment, and oral treatments like Molnupiravir and Paxlovid.

“Finally,” Fox News reports, they said it is imperative “to rebuild trust in public health institutions and a belief in collective action in service of public health.”

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