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Covid news summary: Omicron symptoms, treatment shortages...| 8 January

Update:
A Covid-19 vaccine is prepared for administration ahead of a free distribution of over the counter rapid Covid-19 test kits to people receiving their vaccines or boosters at Union Station in Los Angeles, California on January 7, 2022. - Los Angeles County

Omicron covid-19 variant: live updates

Covid-19 Omicron variant headlines:

United States

Daily Cases: 791,734 (7 January)
Daily Hospitalizations: 113, 675 (7 January)
Daily Deaths: 1,989 (6 January)

- New study finds that children diagnosed with covid-19 were twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes  after they had recovered.

- Test positivity rate hits 27 percent in the US, meaning more than one in four tests are coming back positive.

- Pediatric hospitalizationsreach record high as children are back to school.

- As hospitalizations inch towards record levels, some hospitals are running low on treatments and medications to treat covid-19.

General News and Information

- Are the doses of the Moderna and Pfizerbooster shots different?

- Cases of 'flurona' are on the rise: what is it and what are the symptoms?

- One strange side effect being reported after the booster: armpit pain, what does it mean?

- Will swabbing your throat produce a more accurate result for a covid-19 rapid test?

- Does Omicron have a shorter incubation period?

Global

- 2.5 million cases reported globally on 7January, more than at any point during the pandemic

- What is known about the new Ihu variant circulating in France?

Read more

COVID-19 NEWS

How many children have died from the omicron covid-19 variant?

As children return to school with cases surging, many districts are struggling to find substitute teachers, and some have even decided to move classes online. Although children have typically fair better against the virus, with such a high level of transmission many children are testing positive, even if their case may be asymptomatic. This has led to a record-breaking increase in pediatric hospitalizations, especially among young and unvaccinated children. Read more.

Senegal's Koulibaly and Mendy to miss start of AFCON after positive tests

Napoli centre back Kalidou Koulibaly has tested positive for covid-19 while on international duty with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, the Serie A club said on Saturday.

Senegal open their campaign in a Group B clash against Zimbabwe on Monday.

Goalkeeper Eduoard Mendy has also posted a positive test and will sit out the start of the tournament.

Brazil has 49,303 cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, 115 COVID-19 deaths -ministry

Brazil has had 49,303 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 115 deaths from covid-19, the health ministry said on Saturday.

The South American country has now registered 22,499,525 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 619,937, according to ministry data.

Brazil’s covid-19 death toll trails only the United States and Russia, according to Reuters calculations. Since a hacker attack on Dec. 10, some ministry databases have been offline, affecting monitoring of the pandemic.

COVID-19

Is the Pfizer booster shot for Covid-19 a full dose and Moderna a half dose?

For those looking to get their third dose of the vaccine, there are slight differences between those available by Pfizer and Moderna.

Are the doses of the booster shots different?

Yes. While Modern's booster is a half dose of the original vaccine, the Pfizer shot is a full dose. Both companies ran clinical trials to determine which dosage would provide the best immunity, and the doses set are based on the findings.

Read our full coverage for more on the differences between the shots and for who is eligible.

New study finds link between covid-19 and increased risk for diabetes in children

The CDC released a report today that shows a link between an increased risk of diabetes in children and covid-19. The study found that across the board during the first year of the pandemic, diagnosis for diabetes increased but for children who had tested positive for covid-19 faced an increased risk of  "increase of 166 percent compared to a 30 percent increase among the group free of COVID-19."

The connection as to why they face this higher risk is still being investigation by reserachers.

Does Omicron lead to a more severe case of covid-19 in children?

So far, experts have not linked Omicron to a more severe case of covid-19 in children. However, with cases surging across the country, and many children unvaccianted many more than ever before are becoming infected with the virus. Around 824 children are being hospitalized each day in the US, up around 62 percent from last week. For children under five, who are not able to get the vaccine, the rate of hospitalization is double what is was a month ago, a real concern for the CDC who has cut isolation requirements in recent days.

Like adults, older children who end up in the hospital tend to be unvaccainted, Leaders across the country are calling on parents to vaccinate their children to avoid the distress and agony faced by families when their kids end up in the hospital.

It is important to note that children are still the least likely of any age group to be hospitalized due to severe infection.

ER Nurse in California says many people with mild cases are limiting capacity

As fears over the Omicron variant increase as more and more people test positive, some nurses have highlighted that those who are showing up at hospitals tend to be younger health patients with mild symptoms.

While before the holidays they noted that those in the ER were mostly unvaccinated people with severe cases of covid, this new surge is bringing a very different patient profile to the ER. One nurse interviewed by CBS affiliate KPIX said that she understood their concern but that many "did not need to be there" and that they were taking up beds that could be needed by other patients. 

When should you go to the emergency room?

Nurse Smith said that if you are experiencing shortness of breath, chest pains, or difficulty breathing you should "absolutely get to an ER." But for more mild cases, those presenting with fever, body aches, and a cough, try and stay home prevent further spread because with these symptoms there is not much that the ER can do to help a patient.

Coronavirus US

Are pediatric hospitalizations from covid increasing in the US?

Pediatricians are reporting that there has been a large increase in hospitalizations for children with covid-19, with New York reporting that numbers are up 80 percent in the last month. Nationwide, more than 700 children were in hospital with covid-19 related problems in the last week, 90 percent with evidence of Omicron infection.

The increase has been driven by the Omicron variant which is sweeping the US, leading to record number of infections; over one million were reported on January 3.

Read more.

How many people are being hospitalized each day?

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 17,000 people are being hospitalized each day. This is a 48 percent increase over the numbers seen the week prior.

Currently around 104,000 people are hospitalized, just 20,000 short of the record seen in January of last year. Should hospitalizations continue at their current pace, this record will be broken next week. Hospitals are already feeling the strain, with many workers calling in sick, and some running low on medication and treatments for patients.

UK

UK records 313 new covid-19 deaths, 146,390 cases

Britain reported 146,390 new cases of covid-19 on Saturday, down from 178,250 cases on Friday, while the number of new deaths reported increased to 313 from 229, official figures showed.

Britain has seen a surge of cases linked to the Omicron variant of covid-19 in recent weeks, though death rates have been lower than during previous waves of the disease.

Some 1.227 million people tested positive for Covid-19 during the past week, 10.6% more than the week before, while the number of deaths was up 38.3% on a week before at 1,271.

Total deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19 rose to 150,057.

COVID-19

Are hospitals in the US running out of covid-19 treatments?

Hospitals in the US are feeling the pressure of Omicron as treatments become scarce and staffing hits critical levels.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that currently almost 15,000 covid-19 patients are being hospitalized each day, an increase of more than 63 percent over the rate captured last week.

Full story

germany

German health minister wants to revamp vaccination strategy

Germany must revamp its covid-19 vaccination strategy to tackle the Omicron variant and to ensure it can develop a new vaccine rapidly if it faces a more deadly coronavirus variant in the future, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said.

Lauterbach, who was appointed health minister last month, made his comments in an advanced release of an interview to be published in the Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.

"If we get a variant that is as contagious as Omicron, but significantly more deadly, we should be able to develop and produce a new vaccine in a very short time," Lauterbach said.

The government is planning to put a permanent system in place to purchase and provide shots rapidly at any given time because there could be serious new outbreaks, he said.

"We must not fall into the naive assumption that it (the pandemic) will be over soon. It's not over," he said.

Germany closed large vaccination centres in several states last summer when demand for covid-19 shots briefly declined to a trickle before picking up again.

The Omicron variant now accounts for 44% of coronavirus infections in Germany, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious disease said.

On Saturday, the RKI counted 55,889 newly reported corona infections within 24 hours, more than double the number a week earlier.

Photo by REUTERS/Christian Mang

CDC updates quarantine recommendations

With cases surging in the US and hospitalizations on the rise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued updated guidance for quarantine and self-isolation.

victoria

Swedish crown princess contracts covid amid surging infections

Swedish Crown Princess Victoria has tested positive for covid-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms, the Royal Court said on Saturday, adding that the heir to the throne was fully vaccinated.

Earlier this week her parents, the king and queen of Sweden, both also tested positive amid a mounting fourth wave of the virus, driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, that has seen the country repeatedly report record daily case numbers.

The Royal Court said in a statement that the crown princess, who is 44 and has contracted the virus once before, was isolating at home with her family.

"The crown princess, who is fully vaccinated, is experiencing cold symptoms but is otherwise feeling well," the court said. "Contact tracing has begun."

While covid infections have soared, hospitalisations have also risen sharply and put pressure on the healthcare system, but remain well below the peaks encountered in previous waves.

Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

ramaphosa

Ramaphosa makes vaccination plea

South Africa should step up covid-19 vaccinations, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday, urging members of his governing African National Congress (ANC) party to fight vaccine hesitancy in communities.

Nearly 40% of South Africa's adult population has been fully vaccinated, higher than in many other African countries but less than the government had hoped for by this stage. Late last year, the government deferred some vaccine deliveries as the pace of inoculations slowed.

"We can do better as South Africans, so I therefore urge all of us who have not yet been vaccinated, let us go out in our great numbers (and get the vaccine)," Ramaphosa told an ANC anniversary event.

"The recovery of our economy is very much dependent on many of us being vaccinated."

The ANC wants a policy on vaccine mandates to be finalised, Ramaphosa added.

Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP

India reports highest case count in eight months

India reported 141,986 new covid-19 cases on Saturday, the most since the end of May, as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus overtakes the Delta version in the cities.

The health ministry also reported 285 new deaths, taking the total to 483,463. Total infections stand at 35.37 million.

(Reuters)

Over 2m global daily cases in first week of 2022 - AFP

According to an AFP tally, more than two million daily covid-19 cases were recorded worldwide during the first week of 2022.

Per AFP, an average of 2,106,118 new infections were reported globally every day between 1 and 7 January.

The AFP tally follows a World Health Organization (WHO) weekly update on Thurday that notes global covid-19 cases have “increased sharply” amid the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant, with the Americas reporting the largest uptick in infections.

COVID-19

Should I swab my nose and throat for at-home covid-19 tests or rapid tests?

Can swabbing your throat help to determine whether you have covid-19 when taking a rapid test?

We took a look at what the medical experts are saying

Flight Aware screenshot

Over 1,000 US flights cancelled so far today

Nearly 1,100 flights to, from or within the United States have been cancelled so far on Saturday, as staff shortages caused by the Omicron covid-19 variant contribute to continued travel upheaval around the world.

As of 6:50am ET, 1,076 US flights had been scrapped, per Flight Aware, with Southwest’s 315 cancellations making it the worst-affected US airline.

Worldwide, 2,959 flights had been cancelled, Flight Aware said.

Flight Aware’s real-time flight-cancellations tracker

(Image: www.flightaware.com)

US NEWS

What are the symptoms of Flurona? What is Flurona?

As new infections rise due to the Omicron variant, so too are cases of the flu with cases of dual infections dubbed “Flurona”, reported in several countries.

Full story

Court documents show Djokovic sought vaccine exemption as he had covid-19 in December

Novak Djokovic's legal challenge to the Australian government's decision to cancel his visa on arrival this week says a certified covid-19 infection in December meant he qualified for a medical exemption to the county's vaccination requirements.

A 35-page document lodged in the Federal Circuit and Family Court by his legal team on Saturday outlines the Serbian's case for challenging the visa cancellation which would prevent him from playing in the Australian Open. The challenge will be heard in court on Monday morning.

The tennis world number one has been held in immigration detention in a hotel in Melbourne since Thursday morning after border officials rejected his claim for a medical exemption.

(Reuters)

CORONAVIRUS

What is the new covid-19 IHU variant in France? Where else has it been discovered?

While the number of Omicron cases in the US continues to soar another variant has been identified in Europe, with mutations that have concerned researchers.

Full details

Omicron variant live updates: welcome

Good morning and welcome to our live-text coverage of the spread of the Omicron variant of covid-19, which has led case numbers around the world to surge to new highs. Per a Johns Hopkins University tally, the United States - which has topped one million daily cases in recent days - reported 900,000 new infections on Friday.  We'll also have updates on the IHU variant, a new covid-19 strain detected in France.

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