Forecasting the Omicron winter: Experts envision various scenarios, from bad to worse (Stat)

Stat: Forecasting the Omicron winter: Experts envision various scenarios, from bad to worse. “Since the Omicron variant was discovered four weeks ago, epidemiologists have been crunching data as fast as scientists on the front lines can produce it to scope out what the newest coronavirus variant means for the pandemic this winter and beyond. While many uncertainties remain, disease modelers have cranked out several potential visions for what the first months of 2022 may have in store. Worst case — they could bring the deadliest phase of the pandemic yet. But even the most optimistic scenarios aren’t exactly pretty.”

BBC: WHO urges cancelling some holiday events over Omicron fears

BBC: WHO urges cancelling some holiday events over Omicron fears. “The World Health Organization has urged people to cancel some of their holiday plans to protect public health as the Omicron variant spreads globally. ‘An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled’ said WHO head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding that ‘difficult decisions’ must be made.”

Washington Post: Highly vaccinated countries thought they were over the worst. Denmark says the pandemic’s toughest month is just beginning.

Washington Post: Highly vaccinated countries thought they were over the worst. Denmark says the pandemic’s toughest month is just beginning.. “As omicron drives a new phase of the pandemic, many are looking to Denmark — and particularly the government institute devoted to testing, surveillance and modeling — for warnings about what to expect. The emerging answer — even in this highly vaccinated, wealthy northern European country — is dire. For all the defenses built over the last year, the virus is about to sprint out of control, and scientists here expect a similar pattern in much of the world.”

Washington Post: Omicron and holidays unleash scramble for coronavirus tests across the U.S.

Washington Post: Omicron and holidays unleash scramble for coronavirus tests across the U.S.. “Coronavirus testing was a breeze when J.D. Schroeder traveled to Abu Dhabi and Mexico this fall. Not so much at home in Pennsylvania when he felt sick Wednesday and found out he had been exposed. The mechanical engineer started looking for an over-the-counter rapid test because the earliest antigen test appointment he could find in his Pittsburgh-area community was almost a week away. Rite Aid would only let him order online. The closest CVS pharmacies were all out of stock. He nabbed the last box at a Walgreen’s, which came back positive.”

Washington Post: Omicron spreading rapidly in U.S., could bring punishing wave as soon as January, CDC warns

Washington Post: Omicron spreading rapidly in U.S., could bring punishing wave as soon as January, CDC warns. “Top federal health officials warned in a briefing Tuesday morning that the omicron variant is rapidly spreading in the United States and could peak in a massive wave of infections as soon as January, according to new modeling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The prevalence of omicron jumped sevenfold in a single week, CDC modeling shows, and at such a pace, the highly mutated variant of the coronavirus could ratchet up pressure on a health system already strained in many places as the delta variant continues its own late-autumn surge.”

Covid: Omicron study suggests major wave in January (BBC)

BBC: Covid: Omicron study suggests major wave in January. “The UK is facing a substantial wave of Omicron infections in January without further restrictions, scientists say. The number of deaths from the variant by the end of April could range from 25,000 to 75,000 depending on how well vaccines perform, they said. But the experts behind the study said there was still uncertainty around the modelling.”

NPR: With omicron looming over the holidays, here’s how to stay safe

NPR: With omicron looming over the holidays, here’s how to stay safe. “The good news is, you don’t have to hibernate like it’s 2020. Experts note we’re in a much different place than we were last winter, with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters now widely available. There’s good hope that the current vaccines offer protection against severe disease with omicron. That said, if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that when you don’t know what you’re dealing with, ‘we should invoke the precautionary principle,’ says Dr. Abraar Karan, an infectious disease physician at Stanford University.”

Politico: Stubborn Covid surges signal bleak winter

Politico: Stubborn Covid surges signal bleak winter. “Coronavirus cases are rising once again, disrupting classrooms, overwhelming hospitals and alarming public health officials — even in areas with high vaccination rates — who warn the country is headed for a holiday surge that could leave thousands dead. Though nearly 70 percent of the country has had at least one shot and hospitalizations have fallen from their September highs, the news in many states remains grim and the trend lines portend a fresh wave in the coming weeks.”

New York Times: As Virus Cases Rise in Europe, an Economic Toll Returns

New York Times: As Virus Cases Rise in Europe, an Economic Toll Returns. “Europe’s already fragile economic recovery is at risk of being undermined by a fourth wave of coronavirus infections now dousing the continent, as governments impose increasingly stringent health restrictions that could reduce foot traffic in shopping centers, discourage travel and thin crowds in restaurants, bars and ski resorts.”

‘Zero-Covid is not going to happen’: experts predict a steep rise in US cases this winter (The Guardian)

The Guardian: ‘Zero-Covid is not going to happen’: experts predict a steep rise in US cases this winter. “A steep rise in Covid-19 cases in Europe should serve as a warning that the US could also see significant increases in coronavirus cases this winter, particularly in the nation’s colder regions, scientists say. However, there is more cause for optimism as America enters its second pandemic winter, even in the face of likely rises in cases.”

CNN: How to prepare for another winter of Covid-19? An expert weighs in

CNN: How to prepare for another winter of Covid-19? An expert weighs in. “Winter is almost here. After weeks of steady decline, Covid-19 cases appear to be on the rise again. Is a surge inevitable? How should families think about the winter ahead? What can they do to prepare and get through this period safely? I discussed all of these questions with our expert, CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, who is an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.”

CNN: The Covid-19 numbers seem stuck. That doesn’t bode well for winter, experts say

CNN: The Covid-19 numbers seem stuck. That doesn’t bode well for winter, experts say. “The coronavirus numbers don’t look so good this week. New Covid-19 diagnoses are up in about half of US states over the past week. Hospitalizations are up in 11 states, and deaths have risen in 17 states. US coronavirus cases have plateaued in recent weeks, holding on to about half of the growth from this summer’s latest surge. While new cases have fallen in some states, they’re rising in others, particularly some region’s cold-weather states.”

ABC News: Northern states see uptick in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations as weather gets colder

ABC News: Northern states see uptick in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations as weather gets colder. “In southern states like Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia, which were hit early on by the delta surge, hospitalizations are on the decline. But despite the good news, experts are pleading with Americans to remain alert, as the highly infectious delta variant continues to circulate. Despite vaccination rollouts, several states, particularly those in colder climates, are beginning to see a rise in infections.”