As I reported on Friday, the Biden administration is limiting journey from eight African international locations starting Monday, after a brand new “variant of concern,” generally known as omicron, was detected in South Africa. While there have been some excessive reactions, equivalent to from Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY), who already signed an emergency order for New York State, the signs look like “so different,” and “so mild.” This is what Dr. Angelique Coetzee, the South African physician who knowledgeable the nation’s vaccine advisory committee, informed The Telegraph.
As Peta Thornycraft and Will Brown reported for the outlet on Saturday:
The first South African physician to alert the authorities about sufferers with the omicron variant has informed The Telegraph that the signs of the brand new variant are uncommon however gentle.
Dr Angelique Coetzee stated she was first alerted to the potential for a brand new variant when sufferers in her busy personal apply within the capital Pretoria began to come back in earlier this month with Covid-19 signs that didn’t make quick sense.
They included younger folks of various backgrounds and ethnicities with intense fatigue and a six-year-old little one with a really excessive pulse price, she stated. None suffered from a lack of style or scent.
“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” stated Dr Coetzee, a GP for 33 years who chairs the South African Medical Association alongside operating her apply.
On November 18, when 4 relations all examined optimistic for Covid-19 with full exhaustion, she knowledgeable the nation’s vaccine advisory committee.
She stated, in whole, about two dozen of her sufferers have examined optimistic for Covid-19 with signs of the brand new variant. They have been principally wholesome males who turned up “feeling so tired”. About half of them have been unvaccinated.
“We had one very interesting case, a kid, about six years old, with a temperature and a very high pulse rate, and I wondered if I should admit her. But when I followed up two days later, she was so much better,” Dr Coetzee says.
There are some encouraging takeaways, equivalent to that a good portion of those that introduced with signs of the brand new variant have been unvaccinated, and that her six 12 months outdated sufferers “was such much better” inside days.
Dr. Coetzee’s considerations in regards to the variant additionally look like typical for all different variants, which is that the best fear is for the aged and people with who have already got co-morbidities.
Dr Coetzee, who was briefing different African medical associations on Saturday, made clear her sufferers have been all wholesome and he or she was anxious the brand new variant might nonetheless hit older folks – with co-morbidities equivalent to diabetes or coronary heart illness – a lot tougher.
“What we have to worry about now is that when older, unvaccinated people are infected with the new variant, and if they are not vaccinated, we are going to see many people with a severe [form of the] disease,” she stated.
Meanwhile, within the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci is making headlines for what, unsurprisingly, could also be concern mongering. Nicole Acevado for NBC News went with the headline in her Saturday protection that “Omicron Covid-19 variant might already be in U.S., Fauci says.” In her subheadline, nevertheless, she notes that Fauci did acknowledge “we have not detected it yet,” happening so as to add that “but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility,” it can “go essentially all over.”
As Acevado additionally wrote:
The new variant is regarding as a result of it “has a large number of mutations” that probably makes this virus extra contagious than different variants, in line with Fauci.
“We don’t know that yet, but we’re going to assume that’s the case,” he stated, including that the massive variety of mutations additionally recommended the brand new variant “could evade the protection” of coronavirus therapies equivalent to monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma in addition to the Covid-19 vaccines.
“These are all maybes, but the suggestion is enough,” Fauci stated. “This is something we got to pay really close attention to and be prepared for something that’s serious. It may not turn out that way, but you really want to be ahead of it.”
Dr. Fauci made his remarks on “Weekend TODAY” on NBC.
A Friday night time assertion from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) talked about that there had not but been circumstances detected, however that it will shortly know if and when circumstances have been detected. “CDC is continuously monitoring variants and the U.S. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in this country. We expect Omicron to be identified quickly, if it emerges in the U.S,” the assertion partially learn.
As I included in my protection final night time, CBS News’ Khristopher J. Brooks reported that Pfizer is already testing its vaccine in opposition to omicron. Carl Zimmer additionally reported Friday night time for The New York Times that “New Virus Variant Stokes Concern however Vaccines Still Likely to Work.”