The Covid-19 pandemic has entered a new phase with the Omicron variant, which could infect 60 percent of people in Europe by March, and could bring it to an end, the WHO Europe director said Sunday. “It’s plausible that the region is moving towards a kind of pandemic endgame.”
Really? Has anyone told the virus yet?
This is Europe:
This is America:
This is South America:
This is Asia:
This is the WHO:
The WHO have played a pretty steady hand during the pandemic so far, but this statement is dumber than a bag of rocks.
A Covid-19 patient whose valve-style face mask was blamed for a cross infection in a quarantine hotel last week has been found to be carrying a new variant of the virus with a high number of mutations, marking the first known appearance of the strain in Hong Kong.
The Department of Health revealed on Thursday night that a genome sequencing analysis confirmed the patient, who arrived in the city from South Africa, and another hotel guest who tested positive a few days after him, were infected with the B.1.1.529 [Omicron] coronavirus variant. Both were fully vaccinated.
The new variant – which has been designated “Omicron” by the WHO, in keeping with global naming conventions based on the Greek alphabet – was first discovered in Botswana. Apart from the two cases in Hong Kong, only nine others have been identified worldwide so far – three in Botswana, and six in South Africa.
** We understand that the infected patient had at least one PCR tests that proved negative before testing positive for B.1.1.529 during his stay in quarantine **
⚠️BREAKING—HOTEL CROSS TRANSMISSION OF #B11529—Traveler from South Africa🇿🇦 flew to Hong Kong🇭🇰 with new variant—but wasn’t discovered until 4th day of quarantine on 2nd PCR. Another guest across hallway cross-infected—only positive on 8th day on 4th PCR! Both Pfizer vaccinated🧵 pic.twitter.com/USS2EBzJKA
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) November 25, 2021
The governor of the state of Hidalgo, Mexico, reported that the Ministry of Health has detected the presence of COVID-19 Delta and Mu variants in the same patient. The state president assured that it is an unprecedented event in Mexico, since the two variants had never been detected in the same case of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The finding was confirmed by the Institute for Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference (INDRE) of the federal Ministry of Health, as well as by a third laboratory.
La secretaría de @Salud_Hidalgo ha detectado la presencia de las cepas Delta y Mu en el estado. Derivado de diferentes análisis a través del #INDRE de @SSalud_mx y un tercer laboratorio se detectaron ambas variantes en 1 mismo paciente, hecho inédito hasta el momento en México.
— Omar Fayad (@omarfayad) October 16, 2021
The Delta variant, which was first detected in Chile just two months ago, is now found in 61% of all genome samples. The MU variant, which was rising rapidly until just two weeks ago, appears to have been halted by the surge of Delta cases.
“Delta, since it was detected as a community circulation in the week of July 26, began its participation in the sequencing with 3% of the total positive samples analyzed. The following week it already occupied 6%, then 10% and 22% for EW 33. Since then, it has risen to 29% of the total in epidemiological week (EW) 34 (last August) when 373 samples were sequenced ; 40% in EW 35 with a total analysis of 473 and 61% in EW 36 but with only 71 samples sequenced.
For these same weeks, the Gamma variant of the virus, which for months dominated the infections, has continued to decline. For EW 34, 31% of the total samples were registered; 26% in EW 35 and barely 18% in EW 36.
The Mu variant detected for the first time in Colombia, like Delta, is also on the rise. From 18% in week 33, it went to 30 and 32% in the weeks that follow; while the Andean variant or Lambda continues to decline with 16% in SE, 8% in SE 34 and 2% in SE 35. For EW 36, it does not register presence, although there are still samples to be entered in that week.”
Chile has 77% of its population fully vaccinated:
Here, we demonstrate that the Mu variant is highly resistant to sera from COVID-19 convalescents and BNT162b2-vaccinated individuals. Direct comparison of different SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins revealed that Mu spike is more resistant to serum-mediated neutralization than all other currently recognized variants of interest (VOI) and concern (VOC). This includes the Beta variant (B.1.351) that has been suggested to represent the most resistant variant to convalescent and vaccinated sera to date.
The World Health Organization has thrown in the towel and surrendered to Covid. The WHO have finally realised that Covid-19 vaccines aren’t going to save our asses, and they are now recommending that governments around the world learn to live with the virus. Yes, that’ll be the same virus that has already killed millions, disabled tens of millions, and infected hundreds of millions. Sars-CoV-2 is apparently something we can learn to live with though, just like the ebola virus, or polio, or smallpox, or the bubonic plague.
Welcome to the new normal!
Dr Hans Kluge: “I think it brings us to the point that the aim of a vaccination is first and foremost to prevent more serious disease, and that’s mortality. If we consider that Covid will continue to mutate and remain with us, the way influenza is, then we should anticipate how to gradually adapt our vaccination strategy to endemic transmission and gather really precious knowledge about the impact of additional jabs,” he added.
The Daily Mail has gone into meltdown over this one: “Covid vaccines won’t end pandemic and officials must now ‘gradually adapt strategy’ to cope with inevitable spread of virus, World Health Organization official warns“
** Just to be clear, there will be NO mild “endemic” phase of Sars-CoV-2. Throwing in the towel now will condemn hundreds of millions to die because we haven’t got the backbone to make the sacrifices necessary. **
The new Mu variant, B.1.621, detected for the first time in Colombia, surpasses Lambda and Delta and is already ranked as the second with the highest circulation in Chile. According to the latest epidemiological report from the Public Health Institute (ISP), although Gamma continues to be the most frequent variant with 41%, of the sequenced samples, Mu, with 29%, surpassed Delta (18%) and Lambda (11 %).
In less than a week, the Mu variant detected for the first time in Colombia , has been gaining space at the community level and has doubled its presence in the sequencing of positive samples carried out in the country , according to the latest report of virus variants published today by the Institute of Public Health of Chile (ISP).
LaTercera.com report (in Spanish)
Above, the latest sars-CoV-2 variant chart for Chile.
Below, the same chart just two weeks ago:
Taiwan announced its first confirmed case of the Mu variant of COVID-19, a Taiwanese woman who had received two Pfizer vaccine doses in the U.S. Taiwan’s first case of the Mu variant was originally diagnosed with COVID-19 on August 13th. The infected person is a Taiwanese woman in her 60s who had returned from the U.S. in early August.
She had received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the U.S. on July 5th and the second on July 26th. When she returned to Taiwan on August 3rd, she did not report any symptoms, but a test administered at the airport revealed that she was positive for COVID, with a Ct value of 29.
Based on the latest round of assessments, B.1.621 was classified as a VOI on 30 August 2021 and given the WHO label “Mu”. This includes the descendent Pango lineage B.1.621.1. This variant is known as 21H in Nextstrain nomenclature. The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape. Preliminary data presented to the Virus Evolution Working Group show a reduction in neutralization capacity of convalescent and vaccinee sera similar to that seen for the Beta variant, but this needs to be confirmed by further studies.
Since its first identification in Colombia in January 2021, there have been a few sporadic reports of cases of the Mu variant and some larger outbreaks have been reported from other countries in South America and in Europe. As of 29 August, over 4500 sequences (3794 sequences of B.1.621 and 856 sequences of B.1.621.1) have been uploaded to GISAID from 39 countries. Although the global prevalence of the Mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1%, the prevalence in Colombia (39%) and Ecuador (13%) has consistently increased. The reported prevalence should be interpreted with due consideration of sequencing capacities and timeliness of sharing of sequences, both of which vary between countries. More studies are required to understand the phenotypic and clinical characteristics of this variant. The epidemiology of the Mu variant in South America, particularly with the co-circulation of the Delta variant, will be monitored for changes.
During the past two weeks, 7 residents of a care home near Zaventem in Belgium have died after having contracted the B.1.621 variant of coronavirus first identified in Colombia, South America. All those that have died at the care home had been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
On 16th July, two coronavirus infections were confirmed at the Ter Burg care home. As soon as the first infections were confirmed those in charge at the home put the afflicted section under quarantine. A total of 20 residents tested positive. As measures had been taken the outbreak was contained in the section of the home where it had started.
Nevertheless, 7 of the 28 residents with advanced dementia have passed away. Some of these were in poor physical health to start with. One of them was terminally and another was being given palliative care. However, some of those that died were in relatively good physical health.
Interestingly, the UK PHE have just released a threat assessment for B.1.621, reprinted below, and there are some recent posts from their Twitter account.
This variant was blamed for the rapid growth in Colombia 🇨🇴 in June/July
(at that time Alpha was dominant, almost no Delta) pic.twitter.com/EXwut4WgqL
— Meaghan Kall (@kallmemeg) August 6, 2021
In a possibly related development, Belgium has decided to lift its ban on travel from countries with high levels of coronavirus infections