The first of many from countries where vaccinations are very low in frequency?
Names? Epsilon right to Omega?
Wife and daughter all tested and ready to fly out to Windhoek on Saturday morning for a trip that has already been rescheduled twice. They are fully vaccinated (plus wife recently recovered from COVID) but it‘s the prospect of the expense and unpleasantness of a quarantine hotel when they get back, plus the extra two weeks off work which may be impossible to arrange… (daughter is a vet)
So restricted flights to six countries I hear.
PS She doesn't fancy a job in the most pleasant market town in the midlands, with quick access to London, does she?
> The first of many from countries where vaccinations are very low in frequency?
> Names? Epsilon right to Omega?
You can guarantee that whatever our glorious government say or do they don’t care one iota about what happens to ordinary folk!
You may be right.
In some ways more importantly, will it mean that we need to develop the breadth of antigenic cover of vaccines, as a lot of the changes of the new strain are at the level of the spike protein, which in good part the vaccines are based upon?
Good job our illustrious government ditched the valneuva (? spelling) vaccine, can't possibly see any need for a more "broad spectrum" vaccine 🤦♂️
> PS She doesn't fancy a job in the most pleasant market town in the midlands, with quick access to London, does she?
You’re bidding against Ashbourne…
> Names? Epsilon right to Omega?
I must have missed two. Not nu but omicron.
Which has a pleasingly sinister feel to it. The Omicron Virus.
I think mu and nu got skipped on account of sounding pretty daft.
Not many Greek letters left; always seemed a bit optimistic. Perhaps they can move to Sumerian cuneiform next…
> I think mu and nu got skipped on account of sounding pretty daft.
And presumably Xi looked a bit Chinese.
Your wish, alas, is granted
> I must have missed two. Not nu but omicron.
> Which has a pleasingly sinister feel to it. The Omicron Virus.
I think that I should have consulted my Greek friend.
On that matter, I wonder whether Greece as well as Egypt, are brewing up an Omicron storm already.
Additionally, some surmise, that we will already be contaminated in this country with the new variant. That could be quite a factor in our lives, and how they get organised for the turn of the year.
According to covariants, prevalence of delta in South Africa was 86% a week ago. Now it’s 56%.. guess what’s replaced it.
> According to covariants, prevalence of delta in South Africa was 86% a week ago. Now it’s 56%.. guess what’s replaced it.
Not worth looking at the data on covariants.org for this sort of thing outside of a very small number of countries. See total case numbers they are reporting in SA for Omicron.
And about 80 people out of circa 600,who've just landed in Holland, from South Africa, in the last 18 hours, have the possibility of learning about the Greek alphabet in the worst way.
Hmm - a country that does next to no testing finds an unusual variant and starts surge testing…
And we’re surprised that cases of the variant go up as a percentage of total cases…
Fair point. Critical skills lacking at 6am on a hungover Saturday..
edit: ok, 7:38, did I say I’m hungover?
They don't do next to no testing. South Africa has a very good sequencing and surveillance system. That's how this was picked up. Yes, they then targeted the sequencing at the suspected outbreak which would account for the increase in sequenced cases. However there's the proxy for full sequencing in the dropout gene with PCR that is showing increased cases of the variant in general.
> And we’re surprised that cases of the variant go up as a percentage of total cases…
No, but the fact that is rapidly on its way to becoming the dominant variant suggests it is more transmissable which is worrying.
> And about 80 people out of circa 600,who've just landed in Holland, from South Africa, in the last 18 hours, have the possibility of learning about the Greek alphabet in the worst way.
I imagine that should be "600 out of the 600" as I doubt anyone on the plane was wearing a full-body, positive pressure hazmat suit.
The Omicron, a new Dr who nasty species from the planet omicros. We have infected the ones you call Johnson, il Jung, Putin and Trump and they will be our puppets on our new colony world
Maybe the new name for North Korea, more sinister, certainly
I’m struggling to take the name “omicron” seriously; used so copiously by the technobabble writers on various SF shows…
There used to be a game for the Amiga called The Omicron Conspiracy. Also struggling to take it seriously.
> You need to watch a few more Transformers films ...
Given the S-gene dropout it has I guess we’re working on a new PCR test, which obviously should be called Omicron Prime.
Is it because ultimately, it probably won't make much difference, The Omicron (new feature in Eagle magazine) is coming anyway( though some delay may help adjust the vaccine genome if need be)? Or is it that WHO thinks that first world countries should pay penance for not distributing enough vaccine across the rest of the world?
I believe it's, at least in part, because they want to see countries working together instead of acting against each other. The worry is that if exposing a new variant means that everyone shuts you off instead of helping you out, then the next country to find one is more likely to hide it.
Yes, I'd forgotten that. They said yesterday that South Africa had done a good job with sequencing, and that WHO doesn't want them penalised for doing that good work, as the overall strategy then goes out of the window.
The WHO haven’t covered themselves in glory over this pandemic. At times they seem to be one step behind - mask wearing was another example. I suspect the reason is they’re used to taking the time to provide well informed scientific advice, which is great but with Covid we don’t have the luxury of time. Simple common sense has to be employed while waiting for scientific evidence.
I would close the borders immediately, except for freight and a very narrow list of other permitted reasons (to go into MIQ), provisionally until the new year but to be reviewed on a weekly basis. If after a few weeks it turns out that Omicron is no big deal after all, the economic and social damage would be limited. If it turns out that it is in fact a big deal, stalling for times will pay dividends and reduce the damage later on.
Already a couple of cases here and there will be more but we have a fighting chance of keeping the numbers low for a few weeks if we stop importing more cases.
If it kicks off here rapidly in the next few days (kind of lucky with the S gene dropout meaning we don’t have to rely on sequencing alone), lock down for about 3 weeks. That would reset Delta and NHS capacity and ‘save Xmas’. With the right messaging, I reckon most people would buy into it. It won’t prevent a wave later on but we’d be going into it with more boosters and more healthcare capacity.
Not going to happen of course with our spineless, bumbling leaders.
Wonder if this thing has an R approaching that of measles.
Save Xmas! .. sorry if Xmas is so critical to folk, they clearly need to change how they live the other 364 days of the year. Most will have bought presents yesterday, they could have Xmas tomorrow.
Given England doesn't seem to want basic measures such as vaccine passports, masks etc. shutting the borders is a long stretch
Of course - I did mention it in my post. But if we cut down importation events, we have more of a chance of delaying the spread.
This is very early stage and clearly not a statistical analysis but good to hear that patients are presenting with mild symptoms (no mention of whether those patients had vaccines or prior infection). I suspect it will take a while to get to the more vulnerable cohorts, so it remains to be seen whether it is in fact a milder variant. But put it this way, I’d rather hear this and be sceptical about it than hear that the symptoms are worse than usual.
The idea that it’s a less lethal variant is doing the rounds in commentary elsewhere. How ironic would it be if it was much less lethal, but also had almost no cross-immunity to delta?
Mind you the discussion I have seen is running ahead of the evidence. Talk of hospitals not being overwhelmed very early on in what may or may not turn out to be an exponential phase etc.
Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
Indeed, early days. More transmissible than Delta but less serious would be just what the world needs. They might as well drop all restrictions and hand out free nightclub tickets instead of free bus passes! Trouble is, at this early stage we really don’t know.
Very impressed with the world’s scientific capabilities, once again. It hasn’t been around all that long (seem to recall the first identified case was a couple of weeks ago) and now everyone knows about it and has the genome to study.
> I imagine that should be "600 out of the 600" as I doubt anyone on the plane was wearing a full-body, positive pressure hazmat suit.
61 positive and 13 of those Omicron. From the BBC article:
“The passengers who were confirmed to have Covid-19 have since been quarantined at a hotel near Schiphol airport.
Those that tested negative have been asked to isolate at home for five days and take further tests. Officials said those in transit would be allowed to continue their journeys, though there were reports on Saturday that some passengers had not received written proof of a negative test and were therefore unable to board onward flights.”
Very sensible to ask the others to self isolate and do further tests but will they do it? And then you have the transit passengers on their merry way. I’d have thought that anyone who caught it on the plane won’t test positive for a few days. No sure how sensitive the PCR tests are and presumably it depends on initial viral load as to how long it takes to develop to detectable levels.
> Already a couple of cases here and there will be more but we have a fighting chance of keeping the numbers low for a few weeks if we stop importing more cases.
Or our powers that be announce that in 72 hours time we will be closing the borders to SA giving anyone who is currently there time to rush back to the UK on the promise that they will isolate at home once they get back.
I would be very surprised if we are not screwed again.
The whole testing regime is based on trust anyway! The PCR test before going is unsupervised, as is the day 2 LFT test afterwards. All people need do is buy a test to meet the requirements - they could have stuck the swab up their dogs left nostril for all anybody knows.
And if somebody flies from southern africa to Dubai and thence on to London, nobody has a clue where theyve come from - Border Force don't complete forensic investigations at passport control as they don't have time!
Call me a cynic but the new restrictions are more about the Johnson looking like he can string 2 words together and make a decision rather than anything useful.
> All people need do is buy a test to meet the requirements - they could have stuck the swab up their dogs left nostril for all anybody knows.
My mate did that and he is now in quarantine for rabies. 🐶