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COVID-19 Updates - The Most Recent Information
Omicron Causes Less Lung Damage
The Omicron variant appears to cause less damage to the lungs compared with other variants. Recently released studies with mice and hamsters show the Omicron variant caused less damaging infections and were mostly limited to the upper airway similar to a cold. This includes the nose, throat and larynx or windpipe. Prior variants caused breathing issues and damaged the lungs. Omicron causes less lung damage in the rodents and they were less likely to die.
This variant has spread across the world quickly, but reports are that hospitalizations have increased only slightly even though an excessive amount of people are infected. A recent report from the UK said their hospital admissions for Omicron was 70% less than for Delta.
It has only taken two years, but finally the mask data I originally shared with you in the beginning of this saga is becoming common knowledge. People are finally being told that the best mask to use is an N95 and the second best is the 3-ply surgical masks. The governmental "experts" are finally telling people that cloth masks are not very helpful.
N95 masks are tightly fitting masks that cover your mouth and nose and help prevent contact with droplets and tiny particles in the air from people talking, coughing, sneezing, and spreading in other ways. Usually worn by health care workers and first responders, these masks can filter up to 95% of air droplets and particles, according to the CDC. Still not 100% effective, but the best you have without using a full respirator.
The 3-ply surgical mask is a looser-fitting mask that can help prevent contact with infected droplets in the air. This does not usually fit as snuggly as the N95 and is also not as protective as the N-95. However, it is much better than a cloth mask.
Danish Study Shows Omicron Better at Immune Evasion Than Delta In Vaccinated
We have been questioning if Omicron is more contagious. A Danish study of vaccinated individuals published this week, showed this variant is more infectous than Delta among vaccinated Danes. They found it to be 2.7-3.7 times more infectious in the vaccinated than Delta was when studying 12,000 Danish households. This confirms one reason for the increased cantagion is due to better immune evasiveness of Omicron. They also confirmed as have many countries, that the Omicron variant is much milder than Delta.
UK Confirms COVID Vaccines Are Less Effective Against Symptomatic Infection From Omicron
There was no protection against Omicron in those who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine from 20 weeks after their second dose.
In individuals who had received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, effectiveness dropped from around 65-70% down to around 10% by 20 weeks after the second dose.
Two to 4 weeks after a booster dose, vaccine effectiveness ranged from around 65-75%, dropping to 55-70% at 5 to 9 weeks, and 40-50% from at 10 weeks or more after a booster dose.
These estimates suggest that vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease with the Omicron variant is significantly lower than compared to the Delta variant and wanes rapidly. Nevertheless, protection against hospitalisation is much greater than that against symptomatic disease
One dose of any vaccine was associated with a 35% reduced risk of hospitalization among symptomatic cases with the Omicron variant, two doses with a 67% reduction up to 24 weeks after the second dose, and a 51% reduced risk at 25 or more weeks after the second dose when compared to people who had not received a vaccine. A third dose was associated with a 68% reduced risk of hospitalization at 2 weeks+. The researchers said they need more data to estimate the duration of protection against hospitalization and death.
This data was from analysis of 528,176 Omicron cases and 573,012 Delta cases.
Australia Reports Living With COVID-19
In Australia where more than 90% of the people are vaccinated and they have in the past had some of the most stringent lock-downs, they are now learning to simply live with COVID-19. On Tuesday this week they reported 47,816 new cases as Omicron continued to spread. They say it is putting a massive strain on the country's testing and they are running out of tests.
Oregon Breakthrough Cases And How Various Vaccines Are Holding Up
I watch the Oregon breakthrough cases which have been around 30-31% of total cases for some time, and the last week of December this year, they jumped up to 44%, which is most likely due to the Omicron variant being more evasive to the vaccines, although there were still a lot of Delta cases at this time. In case you want to compare your vaccine effectiveness with other vaccines, below is the report on the hospital admissions and deaths of vaccinated persons the last week of 2021 which allows you to compare the types of vaccines easily with each other. (see the chart below)
If you divide the deaths by the number vaccinated, Pfizer had .012 deaths per cases of COVID-19 (1.2%) and .0002 (.02%) per those vaccinated, .012 deaths for Moderna per cases of COVID-19 (1.2%) and .0007 ( .07%) per those vaccinated and .014 (1.4%) deaths for Johnson & Johnson/Janssen per cases of COVID-19 and .0113 (1.11%) per those vaccinated. As you can see, there are different ways to look at this data. It is always best to use data per 100,000, to be able to compare apples to apples if you are simply looking at numbers of people. This is done below for the number of cases of 100,000 people vaccinated and it allows you to quickly compare the three shots without having to calculate percentages. The other way to compare is to look at percentages which they don't do for you below. This is what I provided above showing Moderna and Pfizer had equal deaths per breakthrough cases, while Johnson & Johnson had slightly higher deaths per breakthrough cases. Then we we look at how many deaths existed if you simply had one shot or the other and died of COVID-19. Pfizer had .02% deaths due to COVID-19 per all those vaccinated. Moderna had .07% deaths due to COVID-19 for all vaccinated and Johnson & Johnson had 1.11% deaths due to COVID-19 for all vaccinated. So, if you look at the percent of deaths per actual cases, the immunizations are fairly equal. When you look at the percent of COVID-19 deaths per number of actual people immunized Moderna .07%, Pfizer is .02%, and J & J is 1.11%.
Boiling this all down:
J& J had the most cases per hundread thousand besides having the largest percent of deaths per those vaccinated. Pfizer had the next largest percent of deaths per those vaccinted as well as having the 2nd largest number of cases per 100,000. Lastly, Modernal had the least number of deaths per vaccinated persons and it had the least number of cases per 100,000.
Please be aware that these figures are only for those people who are fully vaccinated and only for Oregon. This means if you did not get all of the injections that are suggested for that specific injection, you are not what they call "fully vaccinated". This means you would be included in the non-vaccinated list if you should get COVID-19 and be hospitalized or die. You would not be listed as vaccinated. You also would not be listed as vaccinated if your last vaccine was not more than two weeks in the past. (this is how the CDC defines fully vaccinated and these are the only ones counted in breakthrough cases)
During the week of December 19–December 25, there were 6,967 cases of COVID-19. 3,905(56%) were unvaccinated and 3,062 (44%) were vaccine breakthrough cases. (This was updated from the prior numbers as Oregon changed the numbers on their website almost immediately after I first posted the initial numbers from December 25th.) The Breakthrough Report below is also from December 25th. They post new ones each week.