The spread of the Omicron variant has given scientists an unsettling answer: repeatedly, sometimes within months.
Enduring an initial omicron infection may not spare you from omicron’s subvariants, according to preliminary data from South Africa.
The country is currently at the start of a new wave of infections, primarily driven by two omicron coronavirus subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5. Despite a towering wave of cases from the initial BA.1 omicron variant in December that infected a large chunk of the country, new omicron cases increased 259 percent in the last two weeks, according to data tracking by The New York Times. Hospitalizations are also up, and deaths have increased by 18 percent.
Preliminary data posted online last week helps explain why cases are once again surging—the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants can evade neutralizing antibodies generated by infections from BA.1. For the study, led by virologist Alex Sigal of the Africa Health Research Institute, researchers pitted neutralization antibodies from people infected with BA.1 up against BA.4 and BA.5 in a lab. They had samples from 24 unvaccinated people infected with BA.1 and 15 vaccinated people who had also had a BA.1 infection (eight people were vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and seven had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
The queen will “continue with light duties,” Buckingham Palace said, and “further engagements over the coming week will be decided upon nearer the time.”
Abbott Nutrition issued voluntary recalls of their popular Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas after four infants were hospitalized with bacterial infections.
Among those under age 50, vaccination even without a booster protected strongly against hospitalization and death, according to new C.D.C. data.
The World Health Organization on Thursday pushed back against the consistent chatter that the ultra-transmissible omicron coronavirus is “mild,” noting that the variant is causing a “tsunami of cases” that is “overwhelming health systems around the world.”
“While omicron does appear to be less severe compared to delta—especially in those vaccinated—it does not mean it should be categorized as ‘mild,'” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing Thursday. “Just like previous variants, omicron is hospitalizing people, and it is killing people.”
The warning comes as the US is still experiencing a vertical rise in cases and hospitalizations from the quick-spreading variant. In the week ending on January 1, omicron was estimated to account for 95 percent of all cases in the US, according to the latest analysis by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The delta variant, which was making up over 99 percent of US cases as recently as the week ending on December 4, has now been relegated to just 5 percent of cases.
The United States reported over one million new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, setting a global record for a single-day total as the ultra-transmissible omicron coronavirus variant continues its savage spread.
The daily high likely includes a backlog of cases from the holiday weekend. But with more people relying on at-home testing for identifying COVID-19 infections, the number is still probably an underrepresentation of recent cases.
Though cases are rising nationwide, the Eastern US is seeing the highest case rates and steepest increases. New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC, have the top-three highest infection rates in the country. Louisiana, Maryland, and Alabama are reporting the largest increase in cases over the last two weeks.
Smoking can really clog up the lungs, even for people who’ve never been near a cigarette. Turns out that smoking habits from the early 1900s are still inflicting damage—not on tobacco users or their families, but on people with cystic fibrosis.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary condition that makes afflicted people’s mucus thick and sticky. Their lungs become breeding grounds for bacteria that healthy people’s immune systems easily defeat. People with CF often take antibiotics to prevent lung infections, but antibiotics don’t kill everything. A bacterium called Mycobacterium abscessus (M. abscessus) is resistant to many common drugs, and it has become a plague in the CF community over the last couple of decades.
A few years ago, scientists began investigating how the plague originated. By analyzing M. abscessus genomes collected from people around the world, the researchers traced the bacterium’s spread over the last century. They found that decades before the 1950s—before medical advances let people with CF survive past infancy—M. abscessus was already spreading around the globe, and an old public health enemy was to blame. Smokers’ lungs created a reservoir where the pathogen could live and reproduce, a reservoir that quickly spilled over when people with cystic fibrosis began living into adulthood.
Cases of COVID-19 are high and getting higher in the US as Americans head into a holiday week, marked by nationwide travel and jam-packed family gatherings
The country’s daily average of new cases has jumped 29 percent over the last two weeks, and the current average for daily new cases is nearing 94,000, according to data tracking by The New York Times. Previously, national cases were this high at the beginning of November last year and at the beginning of this past August—as the country headed into two of the largest surges in the pandemic so far.
While cases are largely holding steady at high levels in the South and West, the Northeast and Midwest are seeing rapid surges. In the Northeast, Connecticut is seeing the fastest rise in cases nationwide, with a 117 percent jump in new daily cases over the last two weeks. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts rank after Connecticut for the country’s sharpest case increases. Maine, meanwhile, is seeing its highest levels of cases and hospitalizations yet in the pandemic.
Health officials said there was little risk that the virus, which causes a rare but potentially serious illness, would spread. Both cases this year were identified in travelers who had returned from Nigeria.
The C.D.C. urged consumers to throw away any whole red, white or yellow onions they purchased that do not have a sticker or packaging.
Last month, a 46-year-old military veteran in Houston died of pancreatitis, an urgent but treatable condition, while waiting to be admitted to a hospital overwhelmed with unvaccinated COVID patients. Last week, the governor of Hawaii signed an executive order releasing the state’s hospitals from liability if they turn away sick patients because they have no room. On Monday, the Idaho state health department declared “crisis standards of care,” a triage system that allows hospitals with no spare beds to decide which patients they will accept.
Simultaneously, a Florida high school teacher went viral after describing how he took his 12-year-old to an emergency room that turned out to be overwhelmed with COVIOD patients. They waited six hours while his child’s appendix ruptured, a potentially life-threatening event. His son survived—after what the dad described as five days in the hospital and an initial $5,000 bill.
Stories of patients unable to get into hospitals—stuck in waiting rooms, lingering in ambulances, life-flighted to other states where there might be an open bed—have been an awful constant during this hot-spot summer. Overcrowding is an obvious threat to their health. But it poses a more subtle threat to already-admitted patients: it creates conditions and demands on hospital staff that allow dangerous infections to spread.
In communities with growing caseloads, vaccinated and unvaccinated people should return to wearing masks indoors in public areas, health officials said.
Data from overseas, particularly Britain, suggest the spread of the virus will set vaccinated and unvaccinated communities on very different paths.
Most respiratory illnesses don’t require antibiotics, which can have harmful side effects.
Two scientific findings altered the calculus: Vaccinated people don’t transmit the virus, and the shots are effective against variants.
Overconfidence and missteps contributed to the country’s devastating second wave, his critics say, tarnishing the prime minister’s aura of political invulnerability.
The new wave will hurt global efforts and vaccine supplies, experts say. Researchers are scrambling to assess whether new coronavirus variants are playing a role in India.
Nursing homes have manipulated the influential star system in ways that have masked deep problems — and left them unprepared for Covid-19.
He risks infections, bones that do not heal, and foot and ankle injuries that impede walking. His ability to play pro golf again is in question.
The agency has not fully reckoned with airborne transmission of the coronavirus in settings like hospitals, schools and meatpacking plants, experts said.
The spread of other dangerous germs is surging — a result, in part, of the chaotic response to the pandemic.
The link between the gut and metabolic disease is a growing area of obesity research.
Under most circumstances, fever is beneficial, reducing the severity of illness and shortening its length.
The outbreak of the virus has sickened more than 80 million people. At least 1.7 million people have died. Here’s how the year unfolded.
It’s not edible, but it can save lives. The virologist Ian Mackay explains how.
Children in minority communities are much more likely to become infected and severely ill. Many have parents who are frontline workers, experts say.
When these mammals are ill, they have fewer interactions with family and friends, new study suggests. “It’s like us,” said one researcher.
The data emerging from those tested at a storefront medical office in Queens is leading to a deeper understanding of the scope of the coronavirus outbreak in New York.
In an unusual experiment, researchers found no coronavirus infections among thousands of people allowed to return to their gyms.
Now they are using lessons from the experience to urge action on the growing problem of drug-resistant infections before it’s too late.
You shouldn’t gather in groups this weekend, but we know you probably will. So here’s some guidance from the biology professor whose advice for lowering coronavirus risk has reached millions.
Economists say rewards could overcome hurdles in gauging the overall infection and mortality rates from a limited population sample.
It was the first large democracy to contain the spread of the coronavirus and is now the first to methodically go about reopening its economy. Others are watching.
About this question, too, decisions with great consequences are being made, as they must be, based on only glimmers of data.
Looking for a return to normal may be misplaced. Instead, the next phase is about learning how to live with the virus, possibly for a long time.
Officials reported the first cases in New York, Rhode Island and Florida, which declared a public health emergency. In many countries, the epidemic continues to grow at a fast pace.
As new cases appear on the West Coast, some — including the president — are comparing it to the seasonal flu. Here’s a close look at the differences.
Now, after many fire drills, the world may be facing a real fire.
The country is better positioned than most but still could face critical shortages of respirators and masks. Hospitals have triage plans in place. State and local governments have broad powers to quarantine.
Medical experts still don’t know the precise cause of canker sores, though anyone can get them.