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posted by janrinok on Thursday January 13 2022, @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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13 2022, @12:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13 2022, @12:20PM (#1212388)

    Hmm. The citation you give doesn't actually make the claim you are claiming. It is a study of mostly symptomatic people, with almost twice as many people who were hospitalized as were asymptomatic. The population breaks down as: 10% asymptomatic, 51% mild or moderate, 38% severe, with 16% hospitalized. If you look at the actual paper (it's open access, yay) they do not even give long-term results for people who were asymptomatic, presumably because there were not enough. There are additional aspects of the study that make it less relevant to today : it was done early in the pandemic, when testing was not widely available, and all the people had the original variant, when today we are more concerned about the milder Delta and the milder still Omicron. And it has no pre-infection data to establish a baseline.

    I found a second article on the same site that does line up with your claim ( [] ). Maybe you meant to cite that one. But that particular study is basically Confounding Factors : The Confoundening. It's a data analysis of insurance claims (whatever happened to HIPAA?), not a real study of patients. There is no control group of uninfected people, which is a huge deal. Most of the symptoms are things that people in the demographic groups tend to get anyway. Kids with digestive issues, young women with anxiety, middle aged men with heart disease. And mental health issues are grouped in with physical symptoms - even though it's pretty well established that the pandemic itself is causing mental health problems for everyone, even people who were never infected. And some of the symptoms are things like "general discomfort" and "pain" which are so nonspecific that it's impossible to attribute them to any cause (not to say that a doctor couldn't identify them, but that it can't be determined from the data). And since most of the people in the study received treatment for COVID, even claims like "we are seeing heart disease in people who didn't show warning signs previously" can't be taken as evidence of what would be a likely result in people who had mild or no symptoms.

    This is just not good evidence. The second study was intended to be used for health administrators to make planning decisions, for which it could be useful, not to inform medical treatment or individual behavior. And the first study finds that most of the risk is in people who were hospitalized.