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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: 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).

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