2021-12-21 General

Variants

More qualified good news: this preprint out of South Africa says that Omicron is only 70% as likely to send someone to the hospital as Delta. All the same caveats I’ve made previously apply, though.

This Twitter thread does an estimate of the Case Hospitalization Rate (CHR) in New South Wales, Australia. This is in some ways much cleaner data that the South African data: unlike in South Africa there was very very little (2-3%) prior infection. NSW also looks kind of like BC, with very similar vaccination rates (94% vs 92% of adults vaccinated) and population (8M vs. 5M). Using an estimate that hospitalizations occur on average 5 days after PCR tests, the author came up with an estimate that Omicrons CHR is about a third to a half of Delta’s CHR.

Now, before getting all excited, note that there was pushback in the comments that the choice of 5 days was too short, and that making it longer would increase the CFR.

Also, if the CHR of Omicron is half that of Delta’s, but there are ten times as many cases, you still have 5x as many hospitalizations.


This preprint says that Multiple Sclerosis patients on anti-CD20 treatments have robust T-cell defences against Omicron and Delta.

Vaccines

This graph from this Tweet shows that boosters become effective in one to two weeks:

Treatments

I’ve mentioned fluvoxamine before as a potential oral treatment for COVID-19. Early studies showed real promise, but this report says that a later, larger trial was stopped because it was ineffective. Pity.

Recommended Reading

This article talks about what we know about the virulence of Omicron.

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