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The CDC slashes estimates of omicron’s prevalence within the U.S. : NPR


A healthcare employee administers a COVID-19 PCR check at a free check website in Farragut Sq. on Dec. 28 in Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, the CDC revised information reflecting the prevalence of the omicron variant in new COVID-19 instances.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Photos


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Anna Moneymaker/Getty Photos


A healthcare employee administers a COVID-19 PCR check at a free check website in Farragut Sq. on Dec. 28 in Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, the CDC revised information reflecting the prevalence of the omicron variant in new COVID-19 instances.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Photos

Alarms that the hyper-contagious omicron variant accounted for the overwhelming majority of latest COVID-19 infections during the last couple of weeks had been considerably overestimated, in line with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

New information launched on Tuesday reveals that whereas omicron stays the dominant variant, delta – which is the extra extreme pressure – continues to be a worrisome driving pressure behind the present surge.

The CDC had beforehand reported that as of Dec. 18, 73% of latest instances had been linked to omicron. However on Tuesday, the company revised these figures, slashing that estimate to 23% – a 50-point drop, suggesting that whereas the brand new variant was on the rise, it was not infecting individuals on the price the CDC had projected.

“There is no approach round it, it’s a large swing that makes it appear to be one thing went actually improper,” Dr. Shruti Gohil, affiliate medical director for epidemiology and an infection prevention at UC Irvine’s Faculty of Drugs, informed NPR. “However there may be at all times a delay within the testing data that is available in, and that is what the general public ought to take away.”

Omicron struck simply as public well being consultants had been getting their bearings on testing for the delta pressure, Gohil mentioned.

“The best way through which we check and the way in which through which now we have certitude concerning the numbers was all in flux proper at that second. Then alongside comes this new variant and now right here you are attempting to undertaking one thing when you do not have all the mechanisms in place,” Gohil mentioned.

The CDC’s newest report adjusts the numbers and higher displays what was occurring across the nation on the time, she added.

The latest report reveals that as of Dec. 25, 59% of all U.S. infections had been attributable to omicron. In the meantime, delta accounted for 41% of instances throughout the identical interval. And the variety of these infections may very well be even increased, given the company’s margin of error on the collected information. The true determine may very well be as excessive as 58%.

Given the CDC’s up to date data, Gohil mentioned, “The implication is that now we have quite a lot of delta happening and that requires much more consideration.”

That’s very true for people who find themselves turning into extra lax of their preventive habits as a consequence of reviews that omicron is the milder variant of the virus and carries a decrease probability of being hospitalized than from delta.

“Individuals are considering, ‘Oh, properly, omicron’s not that unhealthy,'” she mentioned. “However it’s truly nonetheless too early to essentially know even that. Moreover, delta is the beast that you have to be nervous about.”

Till omicron got here alongside, delta was probably the most contagious variant of the virus, and CDC research recommended that it could be extra more likely to end in hospitalization within the unvaccinated than different strains.

Gohil provides that the CDC’s new findings are additionally forcing hospitals to recalibrate as a result of treating delta or omicron require totally different antibodies and drugs.

“The underside line is, do not take your masks off simply but and get vaccinated, vaccinated, vaccinated, vaccinated — and boosted,” Gohil mentioned.

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