U.S. Cases Set to Triple Pre-Omicron Record

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There are growing concerns about access to testing in the US and Europe

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The increasing demand for tests has prompted some laboratories to access rations, prioritizing those displaying symptoms or who have other underlying health concerns. For example, the University of North Carolina’s microbiology lab is restricting testing to those showing symptoms, staff and patients who require testing before surgery. The University of Washington temporarily closed some of its testing sites last week and is prioritizing appointments to people with COVID-19 symptoms or a known risk amid growing demand, though health experts worry that asymptomatic people can spread the virus. can continue if they are unable to access the test.

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President Biden last month outlined plans to expand Covid testing sites, distributing half a billion free at-home testing kits to slow Omicron growth. The White House has also moved to require large employers to ensure that their workforce is vaccinated or routinely tested negative for COVID-19, though these measures face legal challenges. Huh.

Meanwhile, Germany said it wants to rapidly produce a list of antigen tests that are particularly good at detecting early omicron infections, after doubts about the sensitivity of some of these tests to the variety.

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Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on public television Sunday night that he has asked the government’s vaccine agency, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, to identify rapid tests that can be relied upon to detect omicron infections early.

How rapid tests can identify cases of an omicron infection for the future course of an epidemic because there is preliminary evidence that people with the virus may be infectious earlier during their infection than previous forms, and possibly somewhat faster. Detect the virus before being able to test.

Still, there is increasing evidence that Omicron is milder than other coronavirus variants and, with widespread vaccination, it is fueling some optimism that it may prove less lethal.

The seven-day average for newly reported cases in the US topped 700,000 for the first time on Saturday, data from Johns Hopkins University showed, as the highly infectious Omicron variant spreads across the country. The numbers reported by state health departments and collected by Johns Hopkins also probably reflect a fraction of the true number, given Omicron’s rapid spread and difficulty testing many Americans.

At least 40 states are currently at or near record case levels, according to Saturday’s data. Data from Johns Hopkins shows that the seven-day average of recent deaths in the US has reached nearly 1,600, up from near 1,250 levels early last week. Some data catch-up may still affect Covid-19 numbers after holiday reporting delays, and public-health experts believe it will take longer to see a sharp climb in omicron cases How will it turn into death?

Some officials have also said they expect Omicron to peak in cases earlier than in previous waves, given how fast it is spreading. In hard-hit New York City, there are signs the pace of new infections may be slowing.

The issue of testing dominates the discussion of how best to adapt to the spread of COVID in other European countries. Spain’s government is moving rapidly to reduce the retail price of antigen tests, as drugstores worsened shortages over the past month, driving up prices. In the UK, officials say they will retain free access to accelerated home tests for now, after earlier speculation that the government would stop distributing them because of cost.

Housing and Communities Minister Michael Gove told Sky News on Monday that testing would remain free for “as long as we need to”, without specifying how long it would be.

Mr Gove also said the UK is moving towards a state where the country can live with COVID, with the pressure on its health system and public services now easing.

“But it is absolutely important to recognize that we are not there yet,” he said. “There will be some tough weeks ahead.”

The UK government is now running a campaign to encourage pregnant women to get the COVID vaccine, after it was found that 96% of pregnant women hospitalized with COVID between May and October last year were not vaccinated .

The UK reported a seven-day average of 177,000 new Covid infections on Sunday, down from its earlier peak of 180,000 on 4 January.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia plans to resume school for children under 12 after more than 18 months of closure due to the pandemic.

The state education ministry said on Sunday that primary and kindergarten schools would reopen from January 23. The ministry said students would be expected to wear masks and maintain social distancing while attending school.

Saudi Arabia began offering the Kovid-19 vaccine to children aged 5 to 11 late last year.

The state reported 4,778 new cases on Monday; According to the Ministry of Health, the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic has reached 583,531.

Write Bertrand Benoit [email protected] . Feather

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