The Omikron variant is causing increasing corona numbers in many countries. In England there are staff shortages in hospitals. The news ticker.
- Due to Omikron, the Association of Cities considers an adjustment of the quarantine rules to be important (see update from January 5, 9:40 a.m.) .
- Clinics in the UK are canceling operations due to a lack of staff (see update from January 5, 11:36 a.m.) .
- In London, one in ten people was infected in the last week of 2021 (see update from January 5, 4:55 p.m.) .
- This news ticker for the Omikron variant is updated regularly.
Update from January 5, 4:55 p.m.: The number of corona infections in Great Britain has reached another high due to the spread of Omikron. As the statistics agency ONS (Office for National Statistics) announced on Wednesday, it is estimated that around 3.7 million people were infected in the last week of the old year – more than ever before. In the capital London, one in ten had the corona virus this week.
The omicron wave is still firmly in the grip of the UK – even if experts are seeing signs of a flattening in London. More than 218,000 new infections were reported in the UK on Tuesday.
Omikron: Argentina announces a new record
Update from January 5th, 1:50 p.m.: Omikron is causing increasing numbers of infections worldwide. Argentina has registered more than 80,000 corona cases within one day – more than ever since the beginning of the pandemic. According to the Ministry of Health, 81,210 new infections have been reported. Around 44,400 cases had been registered on Monday.
Argentina reported its first Omicron case in early December. The new record coincides with the summer holidays in the southern hemisphere. Thousands of people travel around the country. Restrictions still apply in only a few provinces. The Argentine government collected numerous corona measures in September and gradually opened the borders to foreigners.
Omikron: British hospitals postpone operations
Update from January 5, 11:36 a.m.: In Great Britain, high numbers of infections due to Omikron are increasingly leading to staff shortages and supply bottlenecks in hospitals and other areas. More than 200,000 new infections were recently reported.
As the administration of the Greater Manchester area announced on Wednesday, non-urgent operations in the hospitals in the region are to be postponed for the time being. Cancer, heart and vascular diseases and transplants are not affected, the message said. The main reason for the decision is above all the “high and rising” level of staff shortages. According to this, around 15 percent of the employees in the region’s hospitals are currently suffering from Covid-19 or are in quarantine. The situation is similar in other parts of the country.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to admit that the NHS health service is under “considerable pressure”. Nevertheless, he refused to tighten the corona measures. He justified this with the fact that the high number of infections in Great Britain has not yet led to a similarly high number of hospital admissions. A change to the test rules will reportedly be announced on Wednesday. Accordingly, a PCR test to confirm an infection should no longer be necessary after a positive antigen test in order to trigger mandatory isolation. This should shorten the isolation time and reduce the high demand for PCR tests.
Omikron: City Council welcomes possible adjustments to the quarantine regulation
Update from January 5, 9:40 a.m.: In view of the growing wave of Omikron in Germany, the German Association of Cities considers an adjustment of the quarantine times to be crucial in order to maintain the critical infrastructure. “If we now really get such an exponential increase in the virus as it is in other countries, then the quarantine regulation as we currently have it may put us in considerable trouble,” said Markus Lewe (CDU), the President of Germany City days, on Deutschlandfunk .
It is crucial that the quarantine regulation “is modified, adjusted so that the overall structure works and the critical infrastructure is also maintained.” “If someone has himself tested every day and also protects himself accordingly, then we as the City Council mean that this quarantine can be reduced from 14 days to five, six or seven days.”
With a view to the federal-state meeting on Friday, Lewe said it was important that a basic attitude be visible. One must proceed uniformly, develop a fixed roadmap that clearly states the measures to be taken in a certain pandemic situation. The reported new corona infections in Germany almost doubled on Wednesday compared to the previous day.
Drosten plain text on Omikron: “We are pretty unprotected there”
Update from January 4, 9:32 p.m.: Virologist Christian Drosten has commented on the Omikron variant. According to the virologist in his podcast at NDR, the “triple vaccination makes the difference”. He was referring to a study from Denmark. Accordingly, with the Omikron variant, double-vaccinated people would have the same risk of becoming infected as those who were not vaccinated. With triple vaccinations, however, the risk drops by a full 54 percent. “The double vaccination will probably do less of a job in controlling the spread at Omikron. We’re pretty unprotected there, ”said Drosten.
Consequently, the strong focus on the booster vaccinations in Germany is right and important. Looking at previous observations, according to which Omikron presumably caused milder disease processes, Drosten said: “I think you can now say that this is the case.” The collected data indicated that a smaller proportion of those infected with Omikron infections Hospital must.
Omikron: Drosten confirms the booster effect
Drosten referred to a study by Imperial College London, dated shortly before Christmas, according to which the risk of hospitalization with an Omicron infection was up to 30 percent lower than with the Delta variant. For people who have been vaccinated twice, the risk drops by 34 percent, and for people with a booster vaccination by as much as 63 percent. For those who have not been vaccinated and who are infected with the Omikron variant, this risk is reduced by 24 percent. In view of the “many unvaccinated people that we unfortunately have in Germany”, this is good news, according to Drosten. However, courses of varying severity are inevitably to be expected and the all-clear is not appropriate.
In addition, the positive effect of the booster vaccination is clearly shown here: “The gain not vaccinated to two times vaccinated is only ten percent more, but the gain from twice vaccinated to three times vaccinated is then almost doubled.” In view of the rapid spread of Omikron the virologist predicted that the variant would now quickly “take over the business” and will also dominate in Germany at the end of January. In this country, it is currently assumed that the Omicron infection rate will double by around four days
Omikron overruns France
Update from January 4, 9:13 p.m.: In France, the number of new infections with the corona virus has reached another record. Within 24 hours, 271,686 infections were registered, more than ever before. The national health authority announced on Tuesday in Paris. The particularly contagious omicron variant of the virus now dominates in France. The number of cases has been rising again for weeks. The seven-day incidence – i.e. the number of new infections per 100,000 people within a week – is 1851 according to the latest information
Omikron on the rise: Delta could be completely displaced by next week
Update from January 4, 7.44 p.m.: Corona Expert Council member Stefan Sternberger estimates that Germany is about two weeks behind other countries in the spread of the Omikron variant. The data already shows that the variant is on the rise in this country too. According to the Tagesschau, one of the largest medical laboratories reports new highs. At the Bioscientia laboratory network in Ingelheim am Rhein in Rhineland-Palatinate, almost 7,000 samples are delivered every day. And the numbers are clearly clear.
Before Christmas, the proportion of the Omikron variant compared to the Delta mutant was still in the single-digit range. Between the holidays, the proportion rose into the double-digit range. “Now we have moved into the high double-digit range and cracked the 50 percent last week,” said managing director Oliver Harzer of the Tagesschau . As a result, Delta could be completely displaced by next week.
Although these data would only apply to southwest Germany, the development is clearly visible.
Update from January 4th, 5:58 p.m.: The Omikron variant apparently overruns Greece. From Monday to Tuesday, 50,126 new infections were detected within 24 hours – a record in Greece. The day before, 40 560 and a week ago 21 657 new infections were registered. A good 70 percent of the new infections are the Omikron variant, said the health authority. The health system of the country with eleven million inhabitants is under great pressure, said the responsible minister Thanos Plevris on Tuesday evening on state television.
Thanks to Omikron? Danish expert predicts the end of the corona pandemic in two months!
Update from January 4, 2:15 p.m .: The Omikron variant spread particularly quickly in Denmark. But there is positive news from the neighboring country. The head of the Danish Serum Institute (SSI) Tyra Grove Krause said on the Danish television channel TV2 that thanks to Omikron, the corona pandemic in her country could be over in two months. According to the national health institute ISS, the Omikron variant already accounts for 90 percent of new infections.
However, Omikron would continue to increase the number of infections in the next few months. The high-ranking epidemiologist expects a massive increase of more than 20,000 infected people every day. It is inevitable because school children in Denmark will return to the classroom on Wednesday. Students and teachers should be tested twice a week. According to the SSI, the school openings will have an impact on the infection rate for the entire population.
“When it’s over, we’ll be in a better position than before,” Grove Krause said on TV2. And that could be the case in two months. “I think we’ll have our normal lives back in two months.”
Contrary to fears, the Omikron seems to have halved the risk of hospitalization compared to the Delta variant, said the SSI experts. An infection with the highly contagious omicron variant is much milder than Delta. People become infected without showing any serious symptoms and as a result, according to SSI chief Grove Krause, there will be a good level of immunity in the population. The prognosis of the Danish epidemiologist: In Denmark Omikron will reach its peak at the end of January. In February, a falling infection pressure would become noticeable and the burden in the health care system would subside.
Omikron cases in Germany tripled in one week, according to the RKI
Update from January 4th, 12.40 p.m.: Omikron is also spreading further and further in Germany. The number of reliably proven and probable cases of the new variant transmitted to the RKI has more than tripled within a week. 35,529 cases would now be assigned to the new Corona variant, according to an RKI overview page on Tuesday (data status January 4). A week ago the value was 10,443 (data as of December 28).
The number refers to all Omikron cases since November, most of the evidence currently comes from the previous week with 20,525 (previous week: 9584). For the current and the past week, the RKI expects a high number of new and late registrations. According to the RKI, the figures only include Omikron cases that have been reliably proven by a complete genetic analysis or in which a variant-specific PCR test has revealed a suspicion of Omikron. In Germany, only a small proportion of the positive samples are tested for variants.
Omikron: USA reports more than one million corona cases in just one day
First report from January 4th: New York – Omikron is spreading rapidly in the USA. The new variant of the coronavirus * has long been dominant in the United States. The number of infections is increasing. The leading US immunologist Anthony Fauci recently stated that the curve of new corona infections * in the USA is currently “almost vertical”.
“We are definitely in the middle of a very serious surge and upward trend in cases,” Fauci told ABC television on Sunday (January 2nd). The fact that the curve of new infections shoots up so steeply is “really unprecedented”. The previous high was recorded on December 30th with 590,576 new infections.
If you look at the current corona numbers in the USA on Tuesday (January 4th) you can see that completely different dimensions have now been reached. According to data from the New York Times , an unbelievable 1,003,043 new corona cases * were reported within one day on Monday (January 3rd) – more than a million. According to data from the Johns Hopkins University (JHU), there were even around 1.084 million new infections. The record value has thus almost doubled. On average, 484,610 people were infected with the coronavirus every day in the USA in the last seven days. Due to the holidays, however, the data should be assessed with caution.
Omikron: South Africa and Great Britain no longer virus variant areas
Fauci was optimistic last Sunday despite the rapid increase. He pointed out that the hospitalization and death rates had recently been significantly lower than in previous corona waves. In addition, developments in South Africa give cause for hope. Omikron * was first detected there at the end of November. Shortly before New Year’s Eve, the South African government announced that the peak of the new Corona wave triggered by Omikron had already been passed.
The German federal government has relaxed the entry restrictions imposed on South Africa due to the spread of Omikron. As of Tuesday, the country will be downgraded from virus variant area to high-risk area. The RKI announced on Monday evening. The same applies to Great Britain, Namibia and six other African countries. (ph with dpa and afp) * Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA
Headline list image: © Jack Hill / dpa