While Americans were out on holiday break, the virus kept spreading. Now people are bracing for the return to work and school https://t.co/rQJrD7uSWi
— delthia ricks ? (@DelthiaRicks) January 1, 2022
Here's an idea: "learning to live with it" means learning to take more precautions and deal with more restrictions when the virus surges, rather than simply pretending it isn't happening while our health system surges past its breaking point.
— Tom Bonier (@tbonier) January 2, 2022
In the United States, since all adults were eligible for vaccination in April, there have been nearly 1,000 deaths a day, >>90% among unvaccinated people pic.twitter.com/a2Jz7QxzP6
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) December 30, 2021
From a long thread, by someone who’s done the (historical) research:
Instead of working, I spent the last few days immersed in COVID preprints and papers. FWIW, I emerged with cautious optimism. If I were assigned to write a "state of COVID" piece, I'd sum it by saying the next 6-8 weeks will be awful, but there's reason for hope after that. 1/14
— Charles C. Mann (@CharlesCMann) December 31, 2021
Compared to that prospect, we've done unbelievably well. It's hard to see, given the awful losses from Covid, but we've been damn lucky. One way to look at the mid-term future is to say that there's a good chance we will continue to benefit from that luck. 14/14 pic.twitter.com/zliFop72qc
— Charles C. Mann (@CharlesCMann) December 31, 2021
4.6 billion people — 58% of the world population — got a vaccine to protect from Covid until today.
For the next year I wish that all people who want to get a vaccine can get a vaccine. Everywhere in the world. https://t.co/7ygyUEH6La
— Max Roser (@MaxCRoser) December 31, 2021
Two years ago today. https://t.co/OTVmZnmf82
— Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) January 1, 2022
China reports 191 new COVID-19 cases for Jan 1 vs 231 day earlier https://t.co/vjZ2BffoRv pic.twitter.com/fBIMbkUDxL
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 2, 2022
Chinese cities on COVID alert as New Year holiday looms https://t.co/guINPcnLtE pic.twitter.com/ljYmNCWTqO
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 31, 2021
India's daily COVID-19 cases rise by 27,553 https://t.co/oaUSthigi2 pic.twitter.com/V6yEquM7fa
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 2, 2022
India reported more than 27,000 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with infections sharply rising for a fifth consecutive day, but the chief minister of the capital New Delhi said there was no need to panic, citing low hospitalisation rates.
The country’s largest cities, including Delhi and the financial capital Mumbai, have seen a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, including those of the Omicron variant, which has triggered a fresh wave of infections in other parts of the world.
Although the number of active cases in Delhi has tripled in just the last three days, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that hospitalisations had not gone up…
Delhi was among hardest hit cities during the second wave of the pandemic in India last year, with hospitals running out of beds and life-saving oxygen, leaving patients gasping for breath.
India has recorded a total of 34.88 million COVID-19 infections, with 27,553 new cases in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Sunday.
The country’s total death toll stands at 481,770…
UAE bans foreign travel for unvaccinated citizens https://t.co/mLxZKUVI7M
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) January 1, 2022
France cuts isolation for COVID-positive to 7 days from 10 days https://t.co/Q5HekQmU4T pic.twitter.com/IsPQyxP4se
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 2, 2022
Fear, distress, relief. The many emotions of the pandemic can be found in Italy’s pharmacy testing lines. https://t.co/i7Kwkro3kx
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 1, 2022
UK government seeks to mitigate workforce disruption from Omicron https://t.co/ppwEneZlIU pic.twitter.com/pdZB8EXHEZ
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 2, 2022
The British government has asked public sector managers to test their contingency plans against a worst-case scenario of 25% staff absence as part of efforts to minimise disruption from the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
With daily infection numbers at a record high and people who test positive required to self-isolate for at least seven days, the government expects businesses and public services to face disruption in the coming weeks, it said in a statement.
“So far, disruption caused by Omicron has been controlled in most parts of the public sector, but public sector leaders have been asked to test plans against worst case scenarios of workforce absence of 10%, 20% and 25%,” it said…
The daily number of new COVID-19 infections across the United Kingdom rose to a record 189,846 on Friday, far higher than during previous peaks.
However, hospitalisations and deaths have remained at much lower levels than in previous waves.
Antarctic outpost hit by Covid-19 outbreak https://t.co/F4YXPcWO9M
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) January 1, 2022
You can get a more protective AND more breathable mask, for a reasonable price. Check out nonprofit @projectn95. We are here to help. https://t.co/9WIFAxm1d6
— Kristi K Fielder (@really_rabbit) December 30, 2021
#Omicron is giving the world a crash course in its powers. Scientists the world over, led by those in South Africa, are taking notes as fast as they can.
Here @DrewQJoseph & I explore some things we're learning. https://t.co/mL1JuDpeZC
— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) December 30, 2021
… It’s time to rethink the way we view our metrics
Brace yourself: Case counts are going to reach astounding heights. Already, reported infections have doubled in just a few weeks. The average daily number of infections is greater than 300,000. (It’s likely that our case counts will become increasingly less reliable as well, given both the shortcomings of our testing infrastructure and the growing use of at-home tests.)
But, in large part because the immunological landscape today is far different than what it was two years ago, cases are less likely to result in severe disease than was the case at the start of the pandemic…
This time the crush of cases threatens more than just hospital care
The good news about Omicron is that the overwhelming proportion of cases it causes are mild. The bad news is that it causes so darn many cases, over a short span of time…
We’ve also seen the impact of Omicron in the disruption in air travel in recent days; airlines simply did not have enough healthy crew members to staff all their flights, resulting in thousands of cancellations. New York City has seen cutbacks in subway service, and first responders ranks have been so thinned by illness that the city has canceled days off for healthy police officers.
These are still early days in the age of Omicron; this kind of disruption will get worse before it gets better. It could have broad implications — on food distribution, on the ability to keep schools and universities open and functioning, on snow removal after storms, on utility system repairs, on public transit.
Paradoxically, the mildest wave of the pandemic to date may be the most taxing to navigate.
The open questions
For one, there’s the question of whether Omicron — which already accounts for the majority of U.S. cases — takes over completely, or whether Delta can keep a toehold. Two different variants can cocirculate, though a study out of South Africa this week found that an Omicron infection protects against future Delta infections, suggesting that the newer variant might be able to push Delta out for good.
Experts will also be tracking whether the breakthrough infections and reinfections caused by Omicron can cause long Covid…
Finally, a key question relates to how long we’ll be in Omicron’s grasp. South Africa’s bellwether wave soared to extraordinary heights — then quickly began to ebb. Data from several European countries also suggest that Omicron waves may be short, sharp shocks compared to the waves that have preceded it. But too little is yet known to predict with any confidence whether the experience of a country with a relatively young population, such as South Africa, will hold true in a country with an older population, such as the United States…
Yes, that *is* Baylor’s Peter Hotez…
For some vaccine developers, the coronavirus pandemic has had a silver lining in billions of dollars in profits.
But a new vaccine rolling out soon in India is taking the opposite approach: Its developers are getting zilch. https://t.co/W4y4hxuL0n
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 30, 2021
“Until we vaccinate the global south – Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia – we’re going to have devastating variants” @PeterHotez, fresh off approval of his COVID vaccine in India and beyond, “hopefully this will help start filling the gap.” #Velshi https://t.co/tISUfCb52e
— Velshi on MSNBC (@VelshiMSNBC) January 1, 2022
What happened to the Novavax vaccine? The technology behind it is the same as the Flublok flu vaccine. And, it's similar to other vaccines that have been around for a long time, like the hep B vax. But after nearly a year it's still not available in the US https://t.co/Q4ieiw7eaV
— delthia ricks ? (@DelthiaRicks) January 2, 2022
Dozens of colleges are moving classes online for at least the first week of the semester amid a surge in COVID-19 cases just as students are about to return from winter break. Some warn it could stretch longer if the wave of infection doesn’t subside. https://t.co/OwzETA6N2w
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 1, 2022
New York state reports 85,476 new coronavirus cases, the biggest one-day increase on record, including 49,724 in New York City
— BNO Newsroom (@BNODesk) January 1, 2022
People say Republicans aren't effective. But DeSantis decided to fight vaccinations in a way he never fought Covid-19 — and he succeeded. https://t.co/rXjU5UVxVB
— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) January 1, 2022
"I know we're suing you to stop a vax/testing requirement that would have reduced the number of Texans who are in the hospital and who need monoclonal antibodies. But can you please pay for doctors and monoclonal antibodies for us? Thanks." https://t.co/QsUa0T2N51
— James Surowiecki (@JamesSurowiecki) January 1, 2022
Working in an ED in Boston on this NYE. Lots of COVID around (no surprise here). Almost everybody has mild disease and is getting discharged. Everybody tonight that has needed to be admitted is being admitted WITH COVID rather than FOR COVID.
— FreckleDoc (@ElissaPerkins) January 1, 2022
Similar to case counts, which are decoupled from severe disease due to the miracle of vaccinations. We need to follow meaningful statistics to determine policy, but that means we need to figure out which ones are the right ones to follow, then measure them. And happy new year!
— FreckleDoc (@ElissaPerkins) January 1, 2022
<To date, 169 Marines have been discharged for refusing the vaccine,>
that’s out of 200K Marines https://t.co/BJZl01u6aR
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) January 1, 2022
please, and i don’t mean to be indelicate, get the fucking fuck out of my military. this is not a political purge, it is a fitness eval. some will pass. others will not. https://t.co/e1Lb14HMPx
— World Famous Art Thief (@CalmSporting) January 1, 2022
The number one cause of death for Border Patrol agents this year was COVID-19 (13 deaths), followed by car accidents (2 deaths). Yet the union fought against the vaccine mandate as “tyranny.”
More agents died of COVID-19 than have been victims of homicide in the last 75 years. https://t.co/WJb6C7CvL3
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) January 2, 2022
Le popcorn, non!
Malaysia’s Ministry of Health reports 2,882 new Covid-19 cases today in its media statement, for a cumulative reported total of 2,764,354 cases. It also reports 26 deaths as of midnight, for an adjusted cumulative total of 31,513 deaths – 1.14% of the cumulative reported total, 1.16% of resolved cases.
Based on cases reported yesterday, Malaysia’s nationwide Rt is at 0.99.
191 confirmed cases are in ICU, 82 of them on ventilators. Meanwhile, 3,291 more patients have recovered, for a cumulative total of 2,692,216 patients recovered – 97.4% of the cumulative reported total.
One new cluster was reported today, for a cumulative total of 6,134 clusters. 209 clusters are currently active; 5,925 clusters are now inactive.
2,549 new cases today are local infections. 333 new cases today are imported.
The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) administered 40,729 doses of vaccine on 1st January: 512 first doses, 754 second doses, and 39,463 booster doses. As of midnight, the cumulative total is 57,745,456 doses administered: 25,999,743 first doses, 25,616,109 second doses, and 6,329,155 booster doses. 79.6% of the population have received their first dose, 78.4% their second dose, and 19.4% their booster dose.
Monroe County, NY:
There were 2930 new cases reported according to the NYSDOH. The Monroe County tracker always takes the weekend off.
I have no idea how many of these were previously reported, if any.
That’s a seriously scary number for an area this small.
The N95s I’ve been using are uncomfortable and reduce my ability to breathe. (See below.) There’s all sorts of tweets out there saying you can find comfortable N95s, but the articles they link to, at least those I’ve seen, haven’t had any good suggestions on how to find them, other than keep trying with different manufacturers. (And yes, I checked out @projectn95, and followed some of its links.)
If you’re wondering, they’re uncomfortable in that the upper strap rests on the top of the base of each ear, and gradually cuts into them if I wear them for travel, rather than for just popping into the grocery store. And they reduce my ability to breathe by putting pressure on the sides of the upper part of my nose. (Again, I can deal with this for 30-45 minutes in the grocery store, but not for the time spent on a plane flight plus the time in airports at each end.)
So this seems like something that should be rectifiable without compromising effectiveness, but it would be nice if there were a better approach than “order N95s from random places until you find one that works for you.”
Good for France! Let’s face it, theaters (and similar venues) with concessions are going to have a lot of customers who are unmasked for a good portion of their time there.
It would be nice if people took off their masks just long enough for each bite or sip, and then put them back on until the next bite or sip, but that’s more effort than you can expect people to put into it: they’ll take off their masks when they take their first bite, and put them back on after their last bite, and in between, they’re sharing any viruses they may have with the people sitting nearby.
Sure, it’s a big problem for the theaters, because concessions are a big moneymaker for them. But it’s better than having to close the theaters.
On 1/1 China reported 131 new domestic confirmed (1 previously asymptomatic) & 4 new domestic asymptomatic cases.
Shaanxi Province reported 123 new domestic confirmed cases (all mild). 1 domestic confirmed case recovered. There are currently 1,590 active domestic confirmed cases (including 10 serious & 3 critical) in the province.
At Yuncheng in Shanxi Province there currently is 1 active domestic confirmed case, a person arrived from Xi’an in Shaanxi.
Guangdong Province did not report any new domestic positive cases. There currently are 29 active domestic confirmed & 2 active domestic asymptomatic cases in the province.
Guangxi “Autonomous” Region did not report any new domestic positive cases. There currently are 19 active domestic confirmed & 1 active domestic asymptomatic cases in the province.
At Hulun Buir in Inner Mongolia “Autonomous” Region 16 domestic confirmed case recovered. There currently are 32 active domestic confirmed cases remaining (all at Manzhoulic to).
At Heihe in Heilongjiang Province the last domestic asymptomatic case was released from isolation.
At Shanghai Municipality 1 domestic confirmed cases recovered. There currently are 1 active domestic confirmed & 3 active domestic asymptomatic cases remaining.
Jiangsu Province did not report any new domestic positive cases. There currently are 1 active domestic confirmed & 3 active domestic asymptomatic cases in the province.
Zhejiang Province reported 7 new domestic confirmed cases, all at Ningbo (in Beilun District). The 1st case was found during screening in preparation for intake into in-patient care at a hospital & the rest are traced close contacts (co-workers on the same workshop floor). Phylogenetic analysis indicates that this cluster is a new Delta introduction, related to an imported positive case from Vietnam, unrelated to the previous outbreak in Dec. There currently are 447 active domestic confirmed cases in the province (spread across Shaoxing, Ningbo & Hangzhou). 1 factory & 1 village at Beilun District in Ningbo have been elevated to Medium Risk.
At Suzhou in Anhui Province there currently is 1 active domestic confirmed case in the city, part of the transmission chain from Zhejiang. The Medium Risk village has been re-designated to Low Risk.
At Chengdu in Sichuan Province there currently are 2 active domestic confirmed cases in the city, a quarantine hotel worker & an airport logistics worker.
At Xiamen in Fujian Province there currently is 1 active domestic confirmed case remaining, a quarantine hotel worker.
At Chongqing Municipality there currently is 1 active domestic confirmed case remaining.
Henan Province reported 1 new domestic confirmed (1 previously asymptomatic) & 4 new domestic asymptomatic cases. There currently are 20 active domestic confirmed & 9 active domestic asymptomatic cases.
Yunnan Province did not report any new domestic positive cases. 1 domestic confirmed case recovered. There currently are 22 active domestic confirmed & 12 active domestic asymptomatic cases in the province.
At Tongren in Guizhou Province there currently is 1 active domestic confirmed case in the city, a person who returned from Jinghong, Sipsongpanna Prefecture in Yunnan.
On 1/1, China reported 60 new imported confirmed cases (6 previously asymptomatic), 48 imported asymptomatic cases, 1 imported suspect case:
Overall in China, 64 confirmed cases recovered (40 imported), 9 asymptomatic cases were released from isolation (8 imported) & 7 were reclassified as confirmed cases (6 imported), & 4,803 individuals were released from quarantine. Currently, there are 3,013 active confirmed cases in the country (822 imported), 16 in serious condition (3 imported), 550 active asymptomatic cases (519 imported), 1 suspect case (imported). 42,965 traced contacts are currently under centralized quarantine.
As of 1/1, 2,841.269M vaccine doses have been injected in Mainland China, an increase of 5.937M doses in the past 24 hrs.
Hong Kong has not yet published reports for 1/2.
I watched a bit of the Rose and Sugar bowls yesterday. Packed crowds, screaming and yelling, and I could almost imagine the cloud of delta and omicron vurus enveloping the stadium. Not a mask in sight. Horrifying.
@Amir Khalid: Happy New Year! How is morale holding up? Is isolation a strain?
Malaysia’s vaccination rate is impressive. It’s good to see people acting so responsibly. Do you have any notions about who the unvaccinated are, and why they don’t get the vaccine?
Get the ones where the straps go around the back of your head. Added advantage is they feel more secure too.
Breathe through your mouth. My sister was having real trouble tolerating them even just for the time in the market. The next time I used one I paid attention to how I was breathing, and realized I was breathing through my mouth. With the nose wire clamped down enough to prevent air from escaping my nose clogs up and I automatically start mouth breathing (and it is under the mask so no one thinks you look like an idiot). I told my sister to mouth breathe and she has had no trouble since.
More unwanted advice — look at lower-end industrial masks rather than paper disposable masks. They’re a lot more expensive but they’re intended for long-term wear and because of that they have to be a good fit and comfortable for hours. N95 and N99 ratings are available, N100 may be a bit over-the-top.
I pledge never to use the phrase “this is the worst timeline” again.
New Deal democrat
Going back to the November trough in cases and hospitalizations, and using a 1 week lag, cases were up roughly 3x one week ago, while hospitalizations are up roughly 2x now.
The Northeast Census region got hit with Omicron first. Deaths have gradually doubled over the past 6 weeks (this is probably Delta). Cases started to rise about 9.5 weeks ago, and had doubled about 4.5 weeks ago. Cases doubled again over the next 2 weeks, and tripled over the last 2 weeks (when Omicron really hit). So the Northeast is where we should first expect to see how lethal Omicron is in the US.
In South Africa, interestingly, the Omicron wave only resulted in 1% of the population getting a confirmed infection (cases have receded 60% from peak). The US has surpassed this rate in just the past 2 weeks. The UK is up 3% in just the last 3 weeks. Canada is up 1%. Denmark is up 6% of the entire population in the past 5 weeks since Omicron hit!
It may be behavioral compliance (Canada) or climate (South Africa) or some other combination of things, but the severity of the Omicron wave is differing by orders of magnitude in different countries. I shudder to think of what January will be like if another 15,000,000 Americans get *confirmed* cases this month.
Anecdotally, I had to cancel NYE plans because someone in my bubble was exposed last Wednesday. A local restaurant that normally does a thriving business is closed for the next 10 days due to staff sickness. Nationwide restaurant reservations were down over 25% compared with the same week one year ago. I suspect Omicron is going to cause a de facto lockdown of large portions of the US economy in the next few weeks.
Anne Laurie —
A semi-lurker says “Thank You!” for all of the work you put into these COVID threads every day.
They are hugely informative.
Well here’s my omicron cautionary tale: as numbers in New York have gone up to a 20% positivity rate, I’ve been even more cautious than usual, keeping my mask on outside unless there’s really no one else around, cutting back on my shopping trips. I was supposed to have a colonoscopy next week; I rescheduled. I haven’t had any social encounters in a few weeks. And yesterday I tested positive.
I used an at-home test and it could be a false positive. I’ll go for another test tomorrow at one of CUNY’s sites, where the lines will hopefully be shorter, to confirm. I took the test because I was so tired on Friday for no apparent reason that I crawled into bed with a book in the early evening, and then I dreamed that I had Covid. So I woke up thinking, You don’t suppose?
I do feel a little under the weather, a little tired, a little achy, a little sniffly, more like I’m coming down with a cold rather than actually having one. If I didn’t have the at-home tests I might have ignored it. I might have spread it. (I was saving the tests because I had offered to drive down to Maryland to bring a friend back to New York this week and I was going to test beforehand because her father is in assisted living and I didn’t want to take a chance on getting him sick, or her, if she had to spend four hours in the car with me.)
This thing is wicked contagious.
@lowtechcyclist: For about a week I’ve been trying out Korean-made KF94 around the apartment building because I also have trouble breathing through the KN95s, even with my oxygen tubing (I have a chronic pulmonary insufficiency). I’ll know after Tuesday whether I can go on an out-of-house jaunt with one, but it seems promising. You might try some of those. I bought mine through the usual monster, where I think you can get what amounts to a sample-size order. Apparently it’s important that they be Korean-made and not knockoffs.
@lowtechcyclist: have you tried the duckbill n95’s? They are the easiest to breath in that I have tried because of the very large air pouch. They aren’t tight on the elastic but seal due to the large overlap of your face. I wanted something smaller so I use mine as backups but they might suit you. Do you wear glasses? That always complicates my choices.
It’s hard to conceptualize, but this implies vaccinations saved around a million people in America this year, given the percentage of us who took the shot.
@lowtechcyclist: Have the same issues. I need to wear a mask everyday for 8 hours and I am overweight so almost all masks whether over the ears or head wrapped are overtight. Just bought some KF94 and will see how well they work.
Currently wearing some older (pre-Covid) surgical masks. They are less destructive on the ears and fit on the nose better but I only have one left. Every mask I’ve bought sonce Covid is made much more crudely. I have a large storage container of masks I can’t use for work because they are painful to wear all day.
Airline crews are being severely affected for the identical reason – causing the current wave of flight cancellations. As soon as the beverage/snack carts begin serving, masks come off and people keep sip, sip, sipping, nip-nip-nibbling until the crews make final trash collection as the plane begins its descent into the destination airport.
@Jinchi: The Delta variant is/was a Really Bad Thing which we have generally underestimated because a lot of people were vaccinated by the time it really started spreading and this kept the death and disability toll to something the world could cope with, just about.
Delta is more infectious than previous variants like the original Wuhan coronavirus and Alpha variant but still causes the deep pulmonary damage that leads to oxygen deficiency, blood clots, renal damage etc. Omicron is even more infectious but mostly lingers and reproduces in the upper respiratory tract making it less dangerous for most folks. Saying that, four times the number of cases of Delta and only half as bad for each individual is still very much bad news.
@lowtechcyclist: The 3M Auras are the ones I’ve found most comfortable, I wear them 8 hours a day
@Robert Sneddon: Well, hopefully, no new variants that are just/more contagious AND more lethal. Unfortunately for the people that got the Kanas (aka Spanish) Flu in 1918+ that did follow that type of pattern. Here’s hoping that that pattern does not occur for covid and covid just vanishes after Omicron burns through the available tinder.
@Cermet: There is no selective advantage to “more lethal.” At this point selective advantage is “more contagious” (and more contagious than omicron is hard to imagine) and/or a mutation that bypasses existing immunities.
@Hermann Fegelein: You need to change your nym. It’s open Nazi provocation.
@New Deal democrat: The NYC area got hit with Omicron first. New England, I think, is actually dealing with simultaneous Delta and Omicron surges, and Delta hit first.
Now, the case numbers are going vertical in that obviously-Omicron way, but the deaths seem to be dropping off their peak (could be holiday distortions; it’s hard to tell). If that’s real, that could be a sign of Omicron taking over too.
An open question has been whether an Omicron spike would actually help to drive Delta out. I think that if it’s possible to know at all, we are going to find out right here, in my neighborhood.
I trashed and banned the comment by someone who chose Hermann Fegelein as their nym.
He was apparently a famous war criminal and commander in the SS during WW II, and was Eva Braun’s BIL.
Brad DeLong’s Substack:
It’s a tough problem, but I expect just about every university to go remote for at least a month.
DC is expecting snow and high winds overnight. I expect the OPM to close the government in DC on Monday (but telework will continue). It will be interesting to see how OPM addresses the Omicron wave this week – infections are on fire in the DC area (nearly 300/100,000 daily). I expect other large employers to closely follow the OPM guidance.
Stay safe, everyone.