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posted by janrinok on Thursday January 13, @04:32AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-hope-it's-only-the-legs-half dept.

Omicron May Infect Half of Europeans Within Weeks, WHO Says:

More than half of Europe's population could become infected with omicron within weeks at current transmission speeds, a World Health Organization official said.

The fast-spreading variant represents a "west-to-east tsunami sweeping the region," Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said in a briefing Tuesday.

He cited the Institute for Metrics and Health Assessment forecast that most Europeans could take it within the next six to eight weeks. The latest Covid surge has resulted in fewer symptomatic cases and lower death rates than in previous waves, fueling optimism that the pandemic may subside.


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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by tekk on Thursday January 13, @05:22AM (13 children)

    by tekk (5704) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 13, @05:22AM (#1212336)

    This largely depends on how good natural immunity is. Most of the studies so far afaik have said that vaccine coverage is pretty good but natural immunity tends to be more specific so variants are more likely to get around it (catching Wild, then catching Delta, then catching Omicron etc.)

    If, for example, Omicron (which seems to be fairly mild) confers immunity to some theoretical nastier variant then it might be possible to get to herd immunity by way of basically uncontrolled inoculation. This is basically how pandemics worked in the past as far as I can tell: we're getting closer to the end of Covid as a pandemic if others in the last few centuries are an example: they mostly burn themselves out within 5 years or so. Of course we're a lot more connected globally than we were back then, so we'll see how it plays out.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @05:44AM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @05:44AM (#1212338)

    Cholera, Polio, HIV didn't burn out in 5 years.

    Influenza didn't - it just recombines so much that we don't consider it the same disease year after year.

    Beware whatever source is pushing these ideas to you. They are wrong, whether intentionally maliciously, or simply incompetently.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @08:55AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @08:55AM (#1212371)

      HIV is still not a danger to anyone except people who take it up the ass without a condom from strange men (generally, homosexual men) or IV drug users who share used needles.

      For some reason, in sub Saharan Africa, apparently heterosexuals get it, but nowhere else, really.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by Freeman on Thursday January 13, @03:10PM

        by Freeman (732) on Thursday January 13, @03:10PM (#1212422) Journal

        Anyone who has lots of sexual partners is at risk for the, typically sexually transmitted disease, AIDs/HIV. This is, because it's transferred via bodily fluid contact. Though, transmission via Saliva or Sweat isn't a thing, except via open wounds. Which again, isn't Saliva or Sweat.

        The reason why it's not a big thing in Developed nations is due to better Hospitals, essentially everything is cleaner / single use items aren't re-used / instruments are sanitized better.

        --
        Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @05:19PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @05:19PM (#1212443)

        Oh look everyone a homophobic moron!

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday January 13, @06:43PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 13, @06:43PM (#1212473) Journal

        HIV is still not a danger to anyone except people who take it up the ass without a condom from strange men

        Until the Mayor's daughter gets it. Then suddenly, it's a danger to society.

        When straight clean beloved (by right wing) wholesome actors die from a blood transfusion, then it's different.

        --
        While in an airport, never use the word "balm".
        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, @05:53AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, @05:53AM (#1212619)

          Funny thing is that a number of conservative christian groups actually recommended that their followers wear masks to avoid AIDS. Interesting to see how the "never can be too careful" argument has changed.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @10:50AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @10:50AM (#1212384)

      What ever happened to the Spanish flu of 1918? And they didn’t even have vaccines then!

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @02:58PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @02:58PM (#1212417)

        It is still circulating among us as a normal (not deadly) flu. It didn't "go away", and neither will this virus. The novel coronavirus will in the future be treated by an optional (hopefully) shot offered each year just like the flu shot is now.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @06:18PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @06:18PM (#1212455)

      Cholera, Polio, HIV didn't burn out in 5 years.

      Are these respiratory viruses?

      Influenza didn't - it just recombines so much that we don't consider it the same disease year after year.

      Yet continual reassortment rarely leads to pandemics.

      Beware whatever source is pushing these ideas to you. They are wrong, whether intentionally maliciously, or simply incompetently.

      You can't definitively say they are wrong without revealing your own arrogance and disregard for common consensus. The claims remain well founded upon historical observation. [healthline.com]

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday January 13, @06:46PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 13, @06:46PM (#1212475) Journal

        Cholera, Polio, HIV didn't burn out in 5 years.
         

        Are these respiratory viruses?

        You could tell people to stop the spread of HIV by putting condiments on it. But will they? No way!

        --
        While in an airport, never use the word "balm".
        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @07:16PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @07:16PM (#1212486)

          Your condiments are more effective at preventing AIDS than face diapers are at preventing Covid but the dynamics of natural selection are quite different. If you want relevance, understand that we treat HIV by hitting it with 3 or more antiretrovirals. [nih.gov]

          Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is a treatment regimen typically comprised of a combination of three or more antiretroviral drugs. HAART may also be called antiretroviral therapy (ART) or combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). A key cornerstone of HAART is the co-administration of different drugs that inhibit viral replication by several mechanisms so that the propagation of a virus with resistance to a single agent becomes inhibited by the action of the other two agents.

          This poses an evolutionary dilemma (a triple-bind) preventing mutation to more virulent or transmissible forms.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by tekk on Friday January 14, @05:01AM

      by tekk (5704) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 14, @05:01AM (#1212612)

      To clarify a bit: the diseases didn't go away, but they stopped being a pandemic. My source in this particular case was a paper from Frontiers in Microbiology, whose table you can see here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7874133/ [nih.gov]

      Covid spreads most similarly to Influenza and other Coronavirii rather than Cholera or HIV as far as I can tell, so I based it off of those numbers. MERS there is an outlier but from what I can tell it's not really comparable either: spread is almost entirely from contact with or consumption from infected camels, with human transmission rates below self-sustaining (we may see it mutate into something more like covid, though; who knows.)

      Now if you want to take this as an excuse to not get vaxxed, not mask, etc. then you're a damn idiot, but historically speaking it seems like Covid ought to be burning itself out within the next couple years as a global pandemic, where it'll drop down to "normal" levels where it'll only kill, say, a few tens of thousands of people a year like various strains of influenza do.

      Also to be clear I'm not a biologist, much less a virologist.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, @05:24AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, @05:24AM (#1212613)

      HIV is too dissimilar to SARS-CoV-2 to be a good comparison. You can count the number of people who actually fully recovered from HIV on your fingers. HIV can be suppressed - and that's great! Through antiviral therapy we've converted a deadly disease mostly into a chronic one. But close to nobody actually gets over it. You can't build herd immunity when you can't build individual immunity.

      Cholera isn't even a virus, nor does it spread through person to person contact (it's water-borne). Another disease where herd immunity isn't a relevant concept.

      Polio is the disease that probably is the most like COVID. It's an ordinary virus, although not one that's biologically closely related. Most people who get it are asymptomatic, and most of the rest have only a cold. Yet, the less than 1% of people who have severe symptoms can die or suffer lifelong disability. There's even "long polio." And herd immunity is a thing with polio (as it is with measles). The polio vaccine is 95% effective - which is not 100% - and that was enough to eliminate polio in developed nations. The only reason it didn't go extinct through naturally obtained immunity is a continuous supply of new children for it to infect. But nobody worried about just catching polio during their daily lives. This is the fundamental limitation on herd immunity. There are always new children joining the herd.

      Polio and measles have another lesson to teach us. Most people consider measles to be a mild, almost comical children's disease. And most people consider polio to be a horrible and terrifying plague. But measles is actually the more dangerous of the two. The difference is that in the popular imagination, the image of measles is kids with funny-looking spots reading comic books in bed, and the image of polio is rows of iron lungs in hospital wards. And measles has a silly name. But it's serious business. More dangerous than COVID, over a period of decades, anyway (not in the short term).