THE COVID REPORT FROM A TRUSTED SOURCE FOR TUESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2022


ONE  

New research shows omicron settles in the nose, throat and windpipe instead of the lungs. This leads to milder symptoms and less dramatically fewer breathing difficulties.

The level of omicron in the lungs was no more than 10%of the level seen among other variants!

University of Hong Kong researchers have been studying the omicron variant using tissue from human airways. Data from lung samples suggest that it grows more slowly in the lungs than other variants.

A protein found in the lungs may be playing a significant role in the reason omicron doesn't impact the lungs as severely. University of Glasgow scientists discovered that omicron does not attach well to cells with a protein found on lung cells (called TMPRSS2.) This protein helped previous SARS-COV-2 variants, including delta, gain entry into the lung cells. The protein bonds much less strongly to Omicron. Therefore, it is more difficult for this variant to get inside and infect lung cells. Cells in the nose, throat and windpipe are much less likely to have this protein and therefore are more vulnerable to infection. Omicron is70 times more likely to infect these upper airway cells when compared to delta.

Scientists know omicron has more than 50 genetic mutations. Some of them allow the coronavirus to attach itself more securely to cells and evade antibodies more effectively, which could help explain the large number of breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated. 

More data is needed to understand why omicron doesn't appear to cause blood clots and organ damage that previous variants did. 

Disease models predict that, in the most likely scenario, omicron will cause 50% fewer deaths in the U.S. compared to last year, even as it causes three to five times as many infections as occurred in 2021.

TAKE HOME-

 As evidence continues to mount that omicron acts more like a cold or the flu, we now are getting research on how and why this is the case.

TWO

New York City’s Health Advisory #39 directs doctors to adhere to the state Department of Health’s prioritization guidance for COVID-19 treatments that are in short supply. It asks doctors to consider whether patients are immuno compromised, their age, their vaccine status and the number of medical risk factors they have for severe illness.

The state’s guidance also includes the instruction that “nonwhite race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.” With all other risk factors such as age, immune, and vaccination status being equal, “nonwhite” and “Hispanic/Latino” patients will be granted superior treatment access compared with whites. There is no science or research that supports this guidance.

TAKE HOME-

Rationing scarce, potentially lifesaving oral antiviral medications and the one monoclonal antibody that is effective against the Omicron variant based on race is not remotely compatible with medical ethics.  These directives are immoral, illegal and bear no relation to any science. The courts will find this to be unconstitutional. Any doctor or nurse asked to act under these directives should not wait for the courts, they should refuse to participate in this unethical and discriminatory exercise.

THREE

Covid cases and deaths have become uncoupled. For the first time there is no statistical relationship between omicron cases and deaths. Daily covid cases are approaching 500,000 which is an increase often times in one month. Daily deaths remain unchanged at 1500 per day. In Africa and Europe, Seventy-four percent of hospitalized patients needed oxygen during the delta wave. Only 17.6% needed it during the omicron wave. The average hospital stay before omicron was eight days. Now, that number is three days. The hospital death rate dropped from 29.1% with delta to 2.7% with omicron. Early data from America is following the same pattern.

TAKE HOME-

 The mania for testing, even testing asymptomatic children, and the breathless emphasis in the reporting of case rates is keeping Covid in the headlines and perpetuating the media driven panic. It is time to stop testing asymptomatic people! Case rates are going to go up. But omicron is the sniffles and some body aches. These higher case rates mean omicron looks more and more like a benign "natural vaccine "that will finally end the pandemic.


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