(CNN) – The UK is experiencing the fastest growing number of Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. But according to the government, new restrictions, including a lockdown, are not on the table – at least for now.
“We have a chance to overcome this Omicron wave without closing our country again,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday. “We can keep our schools and businesses open and we can find a way to live with this virus. “
While Britons are currently required to wear face masks in indoor public spaces and instructed to work from home where possible, Johnson has made it clear that he no longer wants to introduce curbs.
He is not the only one.
Some countries, such as the Netherlands and Austria, have introduced new lockdowns in light of the increase in cases, but many others are not.
Italy, France, Greece and Spain have all reported record numbers of new infections in recent days, but unlike previous infection spikes, they are not re-establishing a strict lockdown.
In Germany, where cases are also increasing rapidly, the government has said it wants to avoid more closures, focusing instead on vaccinating as many people as possible.
The approach appears to be based on what we know so far about the Omicron variant which is now dominant in the United States and much of Europe. Research suggests that the variant causes milder illness and that vaccination offers people a high level of protection, especially after a booster dose.
In the United States, cases are also growing rapidly, with the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 surpassing 100,000 for the first time in nearly four months, according to the latest data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
But speaking to the nation on Tuesday, President Joe Biden made no mention of the new restrictions, instead highlighting the tools the United States has in its battle against the virus and imploring Americans to “please take advantage of it.” what we already have ”.
“And if you are not vaccinated, you have reason to be alarmed. Many of you will suffer from serious illness if you contract Covid-19 if you are not vaccinated. Some will die – die needlessly, ”he added.
CNN medical analyst Dr Leana Wen said the fact that vaccines were available and effective changed the math around blockages.
“It is unreasonable to ask vaccinated people to refrain from pre-pandemic activities. After all, the individual risk to them is low, and there is a price to pay for preventing students from going to school, closing restaurants and retail stores, and stopping travel and commerce, ”he said. she added.
Instead, Wen urged people to take the necessary precautions, such as wearing high-quality masks and getting a booster, to limit their risk of getting infected and infecting others, to protect the healthcare system. and minimize disruption.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: What is “flurona” and how serious is it?
A: “Flurona” is a term coined to describe the condition of being infected with Covid-19 and the flu simultaneously.
The flu and Covid-19 are respiratory illnesses and can cause similar symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, headache and fatigue, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Closures and the wearing of masks helped limit the spread of influenza earlier in the pandemic, but as society opens up cases are expected to increase.
“It’s interesting that after a year with very, very low or no influenza activity, the following year because people were less exposed, it makes them more vulnerable”, Nadav Davidovitch, director of the School public health department of Ben-Gurion University in Israel, told CNN.
He added that for those with no underlying health issues who have been vaccinated against both the flu and Covid-19, these viruses are unlikely to have a “major effect on the individual.”
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READINGS OF THE WEEK
In Hong Kong ‘zero-Covid’, here’s what happens when you test positive
Darryl Chan tested positive for Covid-19 when he landed in Hong Kong last month. More than two weeks later – and although he has no symptoms – he remains isolated in a hospital bed with no sign of being allowed to leave. “I think the worst part is not knowing when I will be able to go out,” he said.
Hong Kong, along with mainland China, is one of the few places in the world to pursue a zero Covid policy and the rules in place are among the strictest in the world. The minimum isolation period for anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 – even if they are asymptomatic – is almost a month, write Eric Cheung and Will Ripley.
“We cannot vaccinate the planet every six months”
A leading expert who helped create the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine said it was impossible to give everyone booster shots multiple times a year.
“We cannot immunize the planet every four to six months. It is neither sustainable nor affordable, ”Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and head of the UK Committee on Immunization and Immunization, told the Daily Telegraph in an interview published Tuesday.
Pollard also stressed the “need to target vulnerable people” in the future, rather than administering doses to anyone 12 years of age and older. More data is needed to determine “if, when and how often vulnerable people will need additional doses,” he said.
It won’t be a pandemic forever. Here is what could be next
Even after Covid-19 cases have fallen from their current record levels, the United States – let alone the world – is unlikely to be able to completely eliminate the coronavirus that causes them.
But there will come a day when it will no longer be a pandemic, cases will no longer get out of hand, and hospitals will not be at great risk of overflowing with patients. Many experts predict that the spread of the coronavirus will end up looking more like that of the seasonal flu, reports Jacqueline Howard.
The United States Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted emergency use authorization for booster doses of Pfizer / BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15.
We asked pediatrician and child development specialist Dr.David Hill to answer parents’ most common questions about boosters.
THIS WEEK’S PODCAST
As we celebrate a New Year, Dr Sanjay Gupta hears Chasing Life listeners talk about the steps they plan to take to live healthier, happier lives in 2022. Plus, guest experts share their tips for achieving your resolutions. Listen now.
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