With the growing spread of Omikron, the level of knowledge about the new virus variant has also increased massively – and this gives rise to increasingly positive hopes for 2022. It is possible that the end of the pandemic is now heralding. Omikron is therefore highly contagious, for everyone, whether vaccinated or not. But the course is much milder than before, especially for those people who are boosted, but also for those who have only received one sting: They all almost never have to be admitted to the hospital, as doctors from the USA report.
Conclusion: Omikron’s vaccination protects against infection to a much lesser extent than before, but more often against severe disease, even in older people with previous illnesses. The corona measures are therefore now being relaxed worldwide. Austria and Germany take their time with this.
The fourth corona wave is currently sweeping across the USA, but this time it is going to be different, the doctors report. Although the country already has very high numbers of infections – almost 500,000 new infections on Thursday alone and more than 2000 people who died of Covid within a day – the vaccinations are particularly good at reducing the severity of the disease.
Matthew Bai, an emergency medicine doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told NBC News: “The general trend I’m seeing is that if you get Covid despite the booster vaccination, the worst-case scenario is more severe cold symptoms. It’s not like it used to be, when you coughed, couldn’t say sentences and were short of breath. “
Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center, said similarly: Patients who received the booster may still have symptoms such as a sore throat, severe fatigue, and muscle aches, he says. Those who were vaccinated but not given a booster, “looked worse, they looked like they were feeling damn bad. But: They didn’t have to be hospitalized either, ”Spencer emphasized. And: “I don’t see any people who have received two doses plus a booster and arrive here deeply short of breath. It just doesn’t happen. ” People who were vaccinated without a booster had more coughs, more fever and more fatigue than those who were boosted.
Spencer told NBC News, “We know that there are multiple forms of this disease that have not changed. But what has changed: We know that the chances of a vaccinated person ending up in hospital are significantly lower. That’s for sure.”
In the over-50s and over-55s with previous illnesses in particular, it is known that the vaccination reduces the likelihood of having to be hospitalized with a severe course, said Spencer, who now recommends booster vaccinations for younger people as well prevent serious illnesses.
The lungs of those who received the booster were “almost back to normal” within a few days, says Joseph Varon, head of the intensive care unit and Covid-19 unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Patients without a booster, however, tended to “still feel sick after a week, a week and a half”. Those 50 people who landed on the corona station in the past four weeks were all unvaccinated. They typically responded with “shortness of breath and a high fever” and “dehydrated like crazy”. Varon continues: “The people who come in here unvaccinated have a much greater burden of disease in their lungs than those who are vaccinated.”
The positive outlook is now reflected in relaxed corona measures. In the USA, Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC health authority, announced that a PCR test was no longer required for release from quarantine. And Israel, which has always been one step ahead of us, is now openly discussing natural contamination. The Ministry of Health is talking about a move to a “mass infection model” and a move to “Swedish politics”, which relied on few and gentle government interventions.
Something similar is happening in Spain, where with a particularly high vaccination rate and new corona record numbers, the regional government in Madrid has refrained from serious interventions. The measures could hardly be more subtle: all citizens have the opportunity to test themselves and, if the result is positive, to stay at home. The sick leave takes place by telephone. Only those who have a fever over 38 degrees or who are short of breath should contact a doctor.
While there is hope of a life before the pandemic again everywhere, Austria and Germany are still following a strict anti-corona course. The gastro curfew in Austria remains. A New Year’s Eve amnesty only applies on New Year’s Day. Relaxations like the one in Vienna are at best noticeable in a very subtle way. In Germany, too, tightened state interventions have just come into force. After all, there are “no red lines” in the fight against the virus, as Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz explained.
In Germany, too, people are currently working on a general vaccination requirement. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder said on December 22nd: “With the mandatory vaccination you have clear control options as to when, who and how should be vaccinated, at what intervals and why. Then you can structure it much better and then ultimately try to get in front of the waves instead of always following the waves. “
The reporter Tim Röhn comments on Söder’s assessment in the “Welt” like this: “Maybe the man is right. The more likely option is for Germany to chase a global change of course. “