Monday, May 23, 2022

COVID-19: World health officials hope omicron wave will boost global immunity

World health officials are giving hope that the descent of the omicron wave could pave the way for a new, more manageable phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as they face tough weeks ahead and another, more dangerous form. warns of the possibility of occurrence.

In the US, cases have risen and are falling sharply, following a pattern seen in Britain and South Africa, with researchers forecasting a period of low prevalence in many countries until the end of March. Although US deaths – now at 2,000 every day – are still rising, new hospitalizations are beginning to emerge, and deaths are expected to decline.

Encouraging trends after two years of coronavirus misery have raised much hope from health experts. Pink’s predictions have been broken before, but this time they may be called Omicron’s silver lining: the highly infectious version will leave behind extremely high levels of immunity.

On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke on ABC This Week about a “best-case scenario” where COVID-19 would drop to manageable levels so that the United States could get “back to a degree of normality.”

And on Monday, the World Health Organization issued a statement anticipating the end of the “emergency phase” of the pandemic this year, saying the Omicron version “offers plausible hope for stabilization and normalization.”

Both Fauci and the WHO’s regional director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, cautioned that new variants are likely to emerge, but with vaccinations, new drug treatments and – while on the rise – testing and masks, the world can reach less disruptive levels of the disease. virus that is, as Fauci said, “essentially integrated into the common respiratory infections that we have learned to live with.”

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In the US, new cases are still at an extraordinarily high 680,000 per day, down from an all-time peak of more than 800,000 a week ago.

In the US, the places where Omicron hit first are seeing the sharpest decline. New cases in the Northeast are nose-diving, while other states — Arizona, Texas, Oregon, Kansas and North Dakota — are still waiting for relief.

Falling, too, are new US hospital admissions of confirmed Covid-19 patients. They average about 20,000 per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is down about 7 percent from last week.

Those numbers include patients who went to the hospital for other reasons and tested positive. But even after accounting for these accidental infections, the trend is hopeful.

An influential model projects that almost all nations will be ahead of the Omicron wave by mid-March, including China and other countries with “zero COVID” policies. The wave will leave behind high levels of immunity – from both infection and vaccination – which can lead to low levels of transmission for several weeks or months.

“What do we end up with at the end of this?” Christopher Murray of the University of Washington, who developed the closely watched Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model. “We end up with the highest level of global immunity we’ve seen in a pandemic.”

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The model estimates that 57% of the world’s population has already been infected with the virus at least once.

Another research group, which combines several models and shares projections with the White House, predicts a strong drop in US infections by April, unless a new version emerges that shows rising levels of immunity. can remove.

“It would be dangerous to forget that possibility, as it has caught us before,” said Catriona Shea of ​​Pennsylvania State University, a leader of the team that pulled the models together.

She also noted, that estimates show between 16,000 and 98,000 more Americans dying before the omicron wave passes. The death toll in the US is nearing 870,000.

University of Texas director Lauren Ansel Meyers said, “Even if we project a more optimistic future, we still have a lot of COVID spread, a lot of stress in our hospital systems, And our death is not yet at its peak.” Covid-19 Modeling Consortium.

“There is still a lot of pain before Omicron is gone,” she said, but added: “It is very plausible that Omicron will be a turning point in terms of our relationship with this virus.”

This story has been published without modification in text from a wire agency feed. Only the title has been changed.

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Nation World News Desk
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