September 24, 2022

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a.  Berry: There may not be doctors and nurses, as well as soldiers, drivers and pilots

a. Berry: There may not be doctors and nurses, as well as soldiers, drivers and pilots

What do we know for sure about Omicron? There is no doubt that it is more contagious – but is it less virulent? Regarding virulence, opinions seem to be divided. It may be very dangerous, but the biggest is the turn resistance Population, obtained thanks to vaccinations against COVID-19 and many infections.

a. Christophe Berry: Omicron is no more ferocious than its predecessors. Some studies even suggest that the disease caused by this virus may be milder than in the case of Delta. Remember, however, that the reduction is not very significant – we are talking about reducing the risk of hospitalization by 25-50%.

And the permeability of Omikron – it is actually much higher, how is everyone afraid?

There is no doubt about the permeability of this variant. It is already visible in Poland, and more clearly in the countries where it has become dominant. In the coming weeks, in Poland There will be a flood of infections. What values ​​will we see in the stats? Depends on how much we test.

Let’s go back to Omikron’s ferocity, because it’s also a concern.

Lab studies suggest that when infected with the virus, it may be slightly worse in the lungs and better in the airways. This would explain the greater permeability and less virulence.

This, however, is just the exams laboratory. It is different in clinical practice.

Yes, you have to be very careful about these results. Clinical reports indicate that there is indeed some reduced risk of hospitalization after omicron infection compared to delta. Let’s not forget, however, that delta was more dangerous than previous variants. Therefore, I would not call Omicron “cataracts” at all.

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How is the vaccination done? How effective is it against Omicron?

Here we come to the good and bad news. Vaccinations in the case of Omikron offer less protection against infection itself and disease, but they protect well against the acute form of COVID-19 disease and death. In countries with high vaccination rates, you can see that the number of infections goes up exponentially, but fortunately the number of deaths does not follow. This does not mean that people do not die of omicron infection and do not end up in hospitals. The number of deaths and hospitalizations is increasing, but fortunately slower. If it were otherwise, we would have had a disaster.

What may happen soon in Poland?

The omicron slowly became dominant; We are already seeing very large increases. This is partly a late effect of Delta’s festivities and broadcasts, but most must be combined with Omicron.

What could the consequences be?

A strong wave of infection awaits us, and how will this translate into paralysis of the service the health And the number of deaths – we’ll see.

why?

We have relatively few vaccinated people in Poland, even in the high-risk groups. How this translates into deaths was already clear last fall. The number of infections in our country was the same or less than in some countries of Western Europe, but the number of deaths was much higher. Even in terms of size. We still have 56 percent. People who have been vaccinated, but we also have a very large convalescent group. However, in both groups some form of protection should be visible. How big is the group? Well, that’s the problem – we don’t have up-to-date data.

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What is most important now?

I kept my fingers crossed, as in other countries there will be a separation between the curve of death and the curve of infection. However, we must be prepared for a worse scenario, that is, a high occupancy of the health service and quarantine of a large number of people. Already, the number of people in quarantine has begun to increase. If a large proportion of Poles were sick, it could cripple social life. We warned about this already in December 2021 as part of the position of the Polish Academy of Sciences regarding Omicron. In the event of a wave of light casualties, there may be no doctors and nurses, as well as soldiers, drivers and pilots.

Even people after three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine get sick.

Yes, the risk reduction is lower than previous variants of SARS-CoV-2 – both in terms of infection and disease. However, we do know that a booster dose significantly reduces risk.

Despite these concerns, are you optimistic about the future trajectory of Friday’s wave?

When I suggest that severe cases will be relatively less than before, that does not mean that our health care system will not be under much strain. We have tough weeks ahead. But I hope it doesn’t turn out that we have too little immunization and that the death rate will be similar to that of a delta.

Is there still time to get vaccinated against COVID-19?

naturally! There is a time to vaccinate at any moment. It is in the interest of each of us, because most likely this winter most of us will get sick. The incidence of the omicron variant is very high. In this regard, they are at the forefront of infectious diseases, along with pathogens such as the measles virus. Those who have not done so should get vaccinated as soon as possible, especially those at risk.

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