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New COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa

Today the global stock market is down considerably due to the new COVIC variant discovered in South Africa. The CNN interview with Dr. Fauci provided up to date information on this variant. Testing with South Africa's scientists are underway on the antibody (generated from vaccines) in the present of this new variant.

Additional information is also found in this NPR article.
Stocks and oil prices drop as the world reacts to new coronavirus variant omicron

The market is reacted negatively already as if this variant will evade or reduce the efficiency of the vaccines already developed. It is the 30+ mutations on the spike protein that the antibody cannot recognize this variant. This hypothesis needs to be confirmed from the testing and the results should be available in coming weeks.


  • Scientists are concerned both by the number of genetic mutations in the critical spike protein, an area that most vaccines target, as well as its apparently rapid spread.
    Data regarding the B.1.1.529 variant (named Omicron) is still scarce.
    We'll know more in the days and weeks ahead.
    Hopefully, the current COVID-19 vaccines will still provide decent protection.
  • When the Alpha variant mutated to the most contagious form, Delta, there was concern that it may evade the mRNA-based vaccines. But it did not. Now a more severe mutation took place and only testing will verify the potential consequences. Since the pandemic started, there were a number of variants that died out since they cannot compete with Delta. Not sure which dominant variants are in South Africa at the time Omicron was discovered. So we have to wait for the testing to be completed. We cannot blame these poor countries when they don’t have the resources to get their population fully vaccinated.

    Saw an interview from Moderna scientists where they talked about combining several types of mRNAs to broaden the genetic spectrum of their vaccines. That can be done rapidly today and scale-up to production in future boosters. Similarly, flu virus mutates rapidly and flu vaccine is formulated differently every year aiming at multiple flu strains ( at CDC’s best guess).
  • edited November 2021
    Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, said about two dozen patients
    at her clinic showed mild symptoms which differed from the prevalent Delta variant.
    Most patients were healthy men who were feeling very tired and approximately half were unvaccinated.
    Dr. Coetzee made clear the patients were previously healthy and she was concerned the Omicron
    variant may have much greater impact on older people with co-morbidities.
    More information will become available in the days and weeks ahead.
  • Pretty busy on reporting on this event but not much details. There was discussion that Omicron is not nearly as virulent comparing to Delta. Killing off the host too quickly does not allow time for the virus to spread. The symptoms you described are not severe enough to require hospitalization and ventilator. Vulnerable demographic is always susceptible to respiratory diseases.

    There are a number of cases found in Europe and Asia and they all traced back to flights from Africa. US and other countries are restricting flights from African countries starting on Monday. This will not stop the spread but it will buy time for the medical community to prepare.

    The global stock market reacted badly last Friday as this reminds everyone of last February and the lockdown. I think all countries are better prepared with vaccines, anti-viral drugs and antibody treatment. The key is get the rest of the population vaccinated.
  • Howdy folks,

    Whelp, it looks like Covid is here to stay. Annual shots. I said way back about 15 months ago, that eventually, we'd all probably catch it. I just wanted it to be later, rather than sooner so they could develop vaccines and therapeutics. They have although I've been lucky so far. Vaccinated and boosted.

    What we are seeing is natural immunity is gives you 50% protection. How about how does it reduce the severity? Does this diminish over time? WTF knows. How does Omicron impact the unvaccinated?

    Who had the quote, by next year, there will be the vaccinated, the recovering and the dead. Looking more and more that way. If we can get the kids vaccinated and everyone boosted, we might be able to get the numbers up to about 80% with the 20% antivax hardcorps. feh. That 20% is and will continue to be a shrinking number. Keeping preaching to your base, you MAGA idiots.

    We can't fix stupid, but Mother Nature can, as she says, 'here, hold my glass of chablis'. She's culling the stupid as I type and we are witness to evolution taking place in the human race.

    and so it goes,

    peace and wear the damn mask,

  • What we are seeing is natural immunity is gives you 50% protection. How about how does it reduce the severity? Does this diminish over time? WTF knows. How does Omicron impact the unvaccinated?
    If it gets as deadly as Delta, similar result as that from India without vaccination and that natural selection. Eventually this will turn into an endemic event with annual vaccination.
  • Referencing those "MAGA" idiots. The lowest vax rate in every state is among two minority groups. Must be MAGA idiots.
  • Recently, I took some time to read about the pandemic of 1918. That pandemic was caused by the HIN1 virus and about 50 million people died. Today, the H1N1 virus is still here. The virus of 1918 mutated itself into a virus that makes you sick as a dog but doesn’t kill you generally. Now I don’t think virus’s sit around all day reasoning the best way to survive but a virus that kills is also going to die, reliant on its host as it is.

    So, if you believe in Darwin’s theory of natural selection, a virus that mutates to a stage where its’ host doesn’t die is going to be more successful than one that kills itself along with us and will become the predominant strain over time. First indications are that Omicron is less severe although more contagious so I will take comfort in the thought that, like 1918, Covid will mutate itself into yet another crappy flu and not the apocalyptic scene I have been playing out in my head.
  • In the meantime, delta variant is still the dominant and "deadly" one, that accounted for most the recent death toll. Omicron is more contagious than delta but there is not enough data to confirm its lethality according to Dr. Fauci. So far genomics testing indicated it contains some DNA sequence from flu. This implies the precursor of omicron was cross-mutated in a patient who was having a flu. The Omicron may ended up less severe this time. What happen if the patient has Ebola and the new variant now have an extremely lethal DNA in it. Now we have a easily transmissible respiratory virus with a deadly payload.
  • edited December 2021
    Preliminary reports suggest the Omicron variant is much more transmissable.
    Outcomes for infected individuals are generally less severe when a variant spreads rapidly.
    There are still many unknowns regarding Omicron.
    A friend recently referred me to an epidemiologist's blog that is very informative.


    Edit: The blog's author was a guest on the PBS NewsHour today.
  • @Observant1, for now more data is being collected so a complete picture of Omicron can be assessed. Really appreciate for your link above. Stay safe.
  • edited December 2021
    One of the major networks (ABC I think) showed footage last evening of a group of older men verbally harassing teens waiting in line for their Covid-19 vaccine. The kids found it quite threatening.

    How low can these nuts go? Shots inside a Michigan school don’t seem to concern them much. Shots in the arm do.

    Some Anti-Vaxxers Opt for Physical Confrontation
    LA Times December 10
  • Supreme court justice, John Harlan ruled that mandatory smallpox vaccinations is reasonable for the greater good of the general public health. Smallpox today is eraciated in the United States.
    In the case known as Jacobson v. Massachusetts, Jacobson’s lawyers argued that the Cambridge vaccination order was a violation of their client’s 14th Amendment rights, which forbade the state from “depriv[ing] any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” At question, then, was whether the “right to refuse vaccination” was among those protected personal liberties.

    The Supreme Court rejected Jacobson’s argument and dealt the anti-vaccination movement a stinging loss. Writing for the majority, Justice John Marshall Harlan acknowledged the fundamental importance of personal freedom, but also recognized that “the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand.”

    This decision established what became known as the “reasonableness” test. The government had the authority to pass laws that restricted individual liberty, if those restrictions—including the punishment for violating them—were found by the Court to be a reasonable means for achieving a public good.

    In addition, a number of cases challenging COVID vaccination requirement in order to attend in-person at University of California, California State, India University and University of Utah, have been rejected on the basis of science and public health.
  • edited January 2
    I’m sick of Covid. The biggest travesty I can think of is so many schools being closed - relegated to “online learning”. Even at the college level I found my online & correspondence courses inferior to the person-to-person contact of classroom instruction. I can’t imagine the experience is any better for 12 and 15 year old kids - some without reliable internet or reliable parents to make sure they’re even doing the work. Wonder what a kid would need to do to “fail” one of these online classes?

    And screw the mask mandates. Why are those of us intelligent and caring enough to be vaccinated wearing masks in public to mostly protect an antagonistic minority who refuse to follow the medical advice and get vaccinated? 2022 kicks off the third year of Covid madness. I understood all the restrictions in the pre-vaccine years. Today, I don’t get it it. And as I said, it’s the kids that are being hurt the most.

    As someone noted in the other part of the board, it’s difficult traveling for us oldsters who worked and saved our lifetimes to do just that. Masks at the departing airport, masks on the runway, masks in the air, masks at the connecting airport(s). Than masks at the rental car counter or on the bus or train to the hotel. And - oh … masks all through the play or concert you attend or museum you tour. And, of course, masks in all the public areas of your hotel. (Try swimming in the pool with one on). #*#!&%*

    Any studies on the number of consecutive hours per-day a 25 year old can tolerate wearing a face mask as opposed to a 75 year old? At 75, I find they get damned uncomfortable after 3-5 hours. - - Patrick Henry: “Give me liberty …”
  • "Why are those of us intelligent and caring enough to be vaccinated wearing masks in public to mostly protect an antagonistic minority who refuse to follow the medical advice and get vaccinated?"

    @hank: Quite simply, because even with the three vaccine shots, at 79 and 82, and with various health issues, my wife and I cannot afford to contract Omicron and take any chances with an infection which could cause us serious system degradation or damage.

    We have restricted our out-of-home activities to relatively short periods of time... certainly nothing like 3-5 hours.

    Drive to store. Put on mask. Shop in store. Leave. Get in vehicle. Take off mask. Maybe 30-40 minutes? No big deal. Welcome to the new reality.
  • edited January 2
    Thanks @Old_Joe. I don’t have a good answer. I’m 75 and one of my best friends is 92. Couple others 76, 77.

    It would be easy to be flippant here - but I value and respect all of you too much. I’ve made my feelings known.
  • We can share your frustration with face masks and limited travel. Please have patience and hang in there. Be safe.
  • Howdy folks,

    I like where the thinking is headed. Why are we all being good doobies to protect the anti-mask shitheads?

    1. Because we're good people and care about our brothers and sisters.
    2. Because we all know too many anti-vaxers that are friends or relatives and are basically good people who have had a lot of smoke blown up their asses.
    3. To prove this stuff isn't that hard. Wearing a mask?!? Hell, I spent 20 months in 'nam.
    4. To slow the transmission.
    5. 'cause we're stupid.

    The other night the reporter basically said, 'this is more transmittable but not very serious if you're vaccinated'.

    Right at this moment, my immediate family ALL have Covid from Christmas dinner. Wife, both sets of Grandparents, Stepson and DIL and 2 grandkids with everyone fully vaccinated and except for the kids, boosted. Everyone tested positive except my fat ass. I guess I'm too ornery. feh. For everyone, it's like a mild cold. Both my DIL and her father have gotten the monoclonal antibody infusions as they are both immunocompromised. I'm getting retested tomorrow just to make sure.

    But, we're going out to dinner tomorrow night.

    I say we start getting back to more of a normal sort of existence. The one doctor I said a couple of weeks ago, that by spring, you will either be vaccinated, recovering, or dead.

    None of us can fix stupid, but Mother Nature said, 'here, hold my glass of Chablis. I'll take care of this'. And she is. She's cloning the race of stupidity. We're witness to evolution taking place in the human race.

    and so it goes,

    peace and wear the damn mask,

  • +1 rono You might appreciate a recent comment made by French President Macron who said "he wanted to p!ss off the unvaccinated !
  • Several companies are starting to increase the unvaccinated employee’s insurance premium by several hundred dollars per month. The carrot days are over. Now comes the stick! One can have their freedom, but they are not entitled to infect others while there is a viable solution.
  • Yes, I like that too.
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