At the same time that omicron infection is increasing, involvement is still present in most cases of infection in Norway. The biggest fear now is that there will be two epidemics at the same time, says Assistant Director of Health Espen Rostrup Nakstad.
5,741 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the past 24 hours in Norway, and the trend of infection continues to rise. All in all, there’s never been such a week in the pandemic before, Assistant Director of Health Espen Rostrop Nakstad tells VG.
The numbers still feature a delta variant, but there are more and more omicron cases, he says.
To be sure someone has omicron, samples must be analyzed. It is a time consuming process, which means that it takes time before omicron cases are detected. Health authorities are now excited to see how quickly the incidence of oomicron infection is increasing, and whether the delta variable is flattening out given all the measures that have been put in place.
– With Delta, we also have the effect that many are vaccinated with the third dose. And I think that partly explains the change we’re seeing now in who is hospitalized.
FHI spread in Denmark on omicron: – the fastest we’ve seen in the entire epidemic
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What he fears most now, according to Nakstad, is the persistence of high infections in the delta and the significant increase in omicrons.
– That’s what we might fear most, if we don’t get significant cross-immunity (to have protection against one variant after infection with the other, editor’s note).
When new, more contagious variants emerged earlier in the pandemic, 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 have been indications from the UK that the doubling time for the virus is not as high as initially thought.
It will be interesting to see if the epidemic can spread. If one doesn’t have good delta immunity to omicron infection, we can actually have two epidemics at the same time with two virus variants for a while.
Will there be two different diseases?
– It’s going to be the same disease, but that means we’ll still have a lot of people in Delta hospitals, more Omicrons and then some in hospitals eventually.
Nakstad further says the hope is that Omicron will give milder symptoms while still being immune to Delta. If so, it would be an advantage that we have 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 Study from Hong Kong He points out 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 be a few weeks before you see if the study is valid.
– This study is called a laboratory study from a laboratory. 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 sites.
However, the fact that patients in South Africa with an omicron require less oxygen than patients with the delta variant is a good sign, says Nakstad.
There is something to support that perhaps even more lungs will be saved with this new alternative. But like I said, it’s too early to tell.
Previously, the country suffered from a lot of delta infections, and a large percentage of the population became infected again with omicrons. This may indicate that delta protects less well against omicron infection, but the disease course appears to be generally milder.
However, Nakstad stresses, it’s important to remember that if the omicron doubling time is just one week, it won’t be long before hospitals remain overburdened.
– It shows that the number of sick people at the same time is important. Will there be a lot of them, wild yet presenting challenges in many health services in many countries.
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