While omicron infections are increasing, involvement is still present in most infections in Norway. The biggest fear right now is that there will be two epidemics at once, says deputy health director Espen Rostrop Nakstad.
During the past 24 hours, Norway recorded 5,741 new cases of coronavirus, and the infection trend continues to rise. In general, there has never been a week like this in the pandemic, Deputy Director of Health Espen Rostrop Nakstad told VG.
The numbers still include the delta variable, but oomicron cases are on the rise, he says.
To be sure someone has an omicron, samples must be analyzed. It is a time consuming process which means that it takes time to detect ommicron states. Health authorities are now excited to see how quickly the incidence of oomicron infection is increasing and whether the delta variable is stabilizing, given all the measures that have been taken.
– With Delta, we also have the effect that is vaccinated with the third dose. And I think that partly explains the change we’re seeing now in who’s in the hospital.
FHI spread in Denmark on ommicron: – The fastest we’ve seen in the entire epidemic
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What he fears most now, according to Nakstad, is the continued spread of infection in the delta and the significant increase in oomicrons.
– This is what we fear most, if we don’t get significant cross-immunity (for protection against one variant after infection with another, editor’s note).
When new, more contagious variants emerged earlier in the epidemic, they replaced existing ones, he says. So Nakstad says it will be interesting to follow developments in Denmark in the coming weeks. The reason is that we are two very similar countries, in roughly the same place in the epidemic.
According to the Assistant Director of Health, there is evidence from the UK that the doubling time for the virus is not as high as originally thought.
It will be interesting to see if the epidemic can spread. If one does not have good delta immunity to omicron infection, we can have two epidemics for a while with two virus variants.
Will there be two different diseases?
– It’s going to be the same disease, but that means we’ll end up with a lot of people in Delta hospitals, more Omicrons and some in hospitals.
Nakstad further says the hope is that Omicron will give milder symptoms while still being immune to Delta. Then it would be an advantage that we introduced the new virus variant in the country.
– But we have to go through a difficult phase before we get there.
Positive study: – Saves the lungs more
New one Study from Hong Kong He notes that the omicron settles further into the nose and throat, something that vaccine expert Ann Spurkland thinks is good news. Naxtad is also positive, but says it will take another few weeks before she sees if the study is valid.
This examination is called a laboratory test. It was noted here that in the upper respiratory tract, that is, the nose, throat and larynx, Omicron copies 70 times more easily than other viruses, while the virus copies itself in the lungs 10 times worse than Delta, he says.
– But it’s too early to conclude, this is not a human study. This must be confirmed by hospitals and other places.
However, the fact that patients in South Africa with omicron require less oxygen than patients with the delta variant is a good sign, says Nakstad.
There is something to support that perhaps more lungs will be saved with this new alternative. But like I said, it’s too early to say.
Previously, the country had many delta infections and a large percentage of the population was re-infected with oomicrons. This may indicate that delta protects less well against oomicron infection, but the disease course appears to be generally milder.
But Nakstad points out that it’s important to remember that if the omicron doubling time is only a week, it won’t be long before hospitals are still crowded.
– It appears that the number of patients at the same time is important. Many of them will be unruly but it is a challenge in many health services in many countries.
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