At the end of 2019, China began to receivedisturbing news about a deadly virus identified for the first time. And despite the efforts made and the vaccines developed in record time, the virus was one step ahead. The rate at which COVID-19 is spreading across the planet and the number of mutations it has acquired is staggering. Thus, the BA.2 variant or "stealth omicron" has every chance of becoming dominant in the world and displacing its predecessors. This is exactly what is happening in China today, with at least 11 cities and counties across the country under lockdown. And this is despite the successful struggle of the Celestial Empire with covid - the preventive measures introduced stopped the waves of previous options, but in the case of the stealth omicron, they turned out to be ineffective. It looks like the world is starting a new, probably the most dangerous wave of COVID-19.
- 1 How China is fighting the pandemic
- 2 New lockdown and quarantine
- 3 Stealth omicron walks the planet
- 4 Mortality due to COVID-19
- 5 Useful statistics
How China is fighting the pandemic
When COVID-19 went beyond Wuhan, China,The government has taken a number of preventive measures to contain the spread of the infection. Face masks, social distancing, strict quarantines, testing and of course lockdowns have challenged the coronavirus. The construction of additional covid hospitals in a record 10 days saved hundreds and thousands of lives.
The zero tolerance strategy for COVID-19 allowedquickly identify those infected and isolate them. But the country has not yet been able to cope with the new stealth omicron variant, and it has not been possible to contain the growth of infections in the spring of 2022.
The new strain of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted so quickly that it has become incredibly difficult to track its every move.
So, in mid-March in China it was3054 cases of covid infection were registered. Of course, these figures do not look depressing (especially against the backdrop of the spread of the disease around the world). However, the speed at which the stealth omicron is transmitted from person to person is unprecedented. Option BA.2 is already dominant in many countries around the world.
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New lockdown and quarantine
Recently, Chinese health expertssaid the rate at which daily cases rise over the next few weeks will be a critical factor in determining whether a tough containment approach proves effective. According to Interfax, citing the Associated Press, the lockdown in China has already affected 30 million people.
So, since March 13 in 17 million Shenzhenweekly lockdown has been announced. This means that citizens cannot leave the city and regularly take a test for coronavirus. In the regions covered by the pandemic, only vital organizations are working, and employees of many enterprises have been transferred to remote work. A similar situation is observed in Shanghai, which has a population of 24 million people.
The effects of the lockdown are already taking a toll onthe country's economy, since Shenzhen is China's Silicon Valley, that is, a major financial and technological metropolis. In the city of Futian, near Shenzhen and Hong Kong, about 300,000 people are under quarantine. A difficult situation is also observed in Hong Kong, which previously recorded the highest death rates from COVID-29.
At the moment, it is difficult to say how effective the measures taken in the country will be. The situation may clear up in a week, but for now, it is too early to draw final conclusions, experts believe.
But even in this situation, there is good news -no new deaths were reported. It should also be noted that the number of new asymptomatic cases in the country amounted to 1768 (compared to 906 the day before). But what happens in other countries of the world?
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Stealth omicron walks the planet
Judging by the latest news, there are more and morecountries are registering a new variant of covid. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), new cases are on the rise in at least 40 countries. At the moment, three sub-variants of the omicron are known - BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3.
"Stealth omicron" as some call itscientists (or BA.2), difficult to identify. The fact is that the new variant lacks a genetic characteristic that scientists use to identify the original omicron variant, the researchers report.
At the end of December-beginning of January 2022, the strain BA.1 was responsible for more than 99% of the detected cases worldwide. At the same time, stealth omicron is spreading in Norway, Denmark and other European countries. According to many researchers, "stealth" is transmitted at lightning speed and ahead of its predecessors.
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Mortality from COVID-19
It is not yet known if the variant is BA.2 is more lethal than the original omicron. According to the Danish Statens Institute, the initial analysis shows no difference in hospitalizations with stealth omicron compared to the original strain. “Perhaps stealth is more resistant to immunity, which allows it to infect more people. So far, we don’t know much, ”experts say.
But if it is too early to draw conclusions about the new option, thenwhat about previous strains? Is it possible to say with certainty how many deaths have been registered in the world? According to a study published in the scientific journal The Lancet, not 6 million people (according to official statistics) could have become victims of a pandemic in two years (according to official statistics), but disproportionately more.
The authors of the new study believe thatThe global death toll from COVID-19 is approaching a record 18 million. The difference is explained by a significant underestimation of official statistics due to late reporting and lack of data in dozens of countries.
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According to experts, understanding the true numberdeaths due to a pandemic is vital to effective public health decision-making. You can see the official statistics here.
According to the latest report published on March 11 in the UK, the main things can be identified:
- The increase in new infections per week compared to option BA.1 option is higher by 80%
- The spread of the stealth omicron increases the infection spread rate by 30-40%
- Viral loads in variants BA.1 and BA.2 are identical, but in the first 2 days BA.2 is slightly higher
Convincing data that the new optionheavier than previous strains, today none. So far, we can only talk about the increased contagiousness of the BA.2 variant - it is actively spreading in countries with a high level of herd immunity.
And if the risk of re-infection remains at the current level, this will negatively affect mortality. But even if we assume a relatively mild course of the disease, we must not forget that covid does not pass without a trace for the body.
Do not underestimate Omicron, especially if you are not vaccinated
For this reason, we should stilladhere to preventive measures: get vaccinated, maintain social distance, monitor hand hygiene and do not forget about protective masks. By the way, researchers are now recommending the use of FFP2/FFP3 masks – we talked about what they are and whether it makes sense to use respirators here. Be healthy. Today this is the main thing.