Increased speed: how Omicron is increasing its turnover in Russia |  Articles

In Russia, 783 cases of infection with a new strain of “Omicron” have already been identified, said Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. Most of them are in Moscow. According to various estimates, the contagiousness of “Omicron” is three to seven times higher than “Delta”. A person becomes infectious already in the first day, said the head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova. Russia’s herd immunity target of 80% has so far only been achieved in four regions. In the whole country it is 63.7%. And in some subjects it decreased due to the low level of revaccination. Meanwhile, virologists note that in countries where they began to actively use the “booster”, the infection quickly declined.

Will grow

Over the past five days, an increase in cases of COVID-19 infection by 20.2% has been recorded in Russia. An increase in the incidence is observed in 37 regions. In addition, 783 cases of infection with the new Omicron strain have already been confirmed in Russia, 53% of which are in the capital. The maximum incidence rates are noted in three regions: Moscow, the Sakhalin Region and St. Petersburg, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Tatyana Golikova said at a briefing on Friday, January 14.

That is, since January 10, in three days, the number of infections with the Omicron strain has increased in Russia as a whole by 2.6 times. It increased by 2.3 times in Moscow. And we assume that, given the contagiousness of this strain, the number will naturally grow,” the Deputy Prime Minister noted, adding that, according to various estimates, the infectiousness of Omicron is three to seven times higher than that of Delta.

Photo: RIA Novosti / Vitaly Timkiv

The Vice Premier noted that herd immunity rate in Russia is now 63.7%, but the target level – 80% – has so far been achieved only in four regions: in Sevastopol, St. Petersburg, Karelia and the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. Wherein in five constituent entities — Moscow, the Moscow region, the Belgorod region, the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Chechnya — its decrease was noted due to the low level of revaccination.

Many Russians are in no hurry to re-vaccinate, confirmed to Izvestia the chief researcher of the Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology. N.F. Gamalei Anatoly Altshtein.

– Many of us were vaccinated six months ago and earlier. It is imperative to make a “booster” dose – especially in conditions when Omicron is approaching us, which requires more immune activity from the vaccine than Delta– said Anatoly Alshtein. – Why is a “booster” necessary? Let’s look at Israel: there is a very high percentage of vaccination of the population, but with the advent of Delta, a sharp increase in the incidence began. Then people began to make a “booster” – and the infection quickly began to decline.

Prepare for the worst

According to Tatyana Golikova, the government is actively studying the experience of other countries in the fight against Omicron, analyzes the proposals of the regions and on Tuesday, January 18, will present a draft of new measures to protect against it for discussion by the Coordinating Council to Combat Coronavirus, chaired by Mikhail Mishustin.

Photo: Izvestia / Sergey Konkov

Cardinal innovations should not be expected, says the head of the preventive center of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor Vadim Pokrovsky. The authorities, according to the expert, will focus on working out the measures already taken. In the first place is the task of accelerating the voluntary vaccination of the population.

“It is also likely that measures will be tightened to control compliance with the mask regime in public places. Now people are a little more relaxed.. In large stores and restaurants, control is insufficient, said Vadim Pokrovsky.

The expert does not rule out that more employees will be telecommuting where possibleO. This will avoid unnecessary social contacts.

The State Duma also agrees with this. Basically, the federal and regional authorities will prepare for the worst scenario of a pandemic, Sergey Leonov, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Health, told Izvestia. All measures to combat coronavirus have already been invented, so the local authorities will decide how to apply them with an eye to Moscow.. In parallel with this, the authorities will have to discuss the issues of vaccination of children and adolescents.

Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

As for the doctors, there were no complaints from them about the lack of workers., Mikhail Androchnikov, deputy chairman of the trade union of health workers, told Izvestia. Additional payments to medical staff helped employees a lot, especially in the regions. Now all hospitals are preparing for a possible influx of patients, which federal officials have repeatedly warned about.

New symptoms

The Omicron strain rapidly multiplies on the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract – the nose and throat. A person becomes contagious in the first day. But the virus also remains vulnerable to disinfectants, so “all the measures that were developed earlier are absolutely relevant,” said Anna Popova, head of Rospotrebnadzor.

– If earlier we said that the average incubation period is six to eight days, today the incubation period is from two to five days, that is, the spread is much faster. This is confirmed by our colleagues in other countries who have previously encountered the massive spread of this virus,” Anna Popova said.

She emphasized that despite the high level of contagiousness, people who have been vaccinated and recovered from coronavirus have a mild form of the disease. It is important to continue to increase the pace of the vaccination campaign and comply with all restrictive measures, including social distance and mask regime.

The first symptoms of the Omicron strain are very similar to the commonplace ARVI and influenza. But further development is not always predictable, therefore, in case of malaise, it seems to me, it is not necessary to try most to carry out differential diagnostics. Only a medical worker can figure it out, who will make a special test – today they are absolutely available in all medical institutions – and determine what kind of disease we have, – added the head of Rospotrebnadzor.

Photo: Izvestiya/Andrey Ershtrem

The head of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Mikhail Murashko, noted that Omicron does not have unique symptoms, but still differs from Delta.

– Most patients with coronavirus caused by the Omicron strain in Russia and abroad have symptoms such as headache, runny nose, nasal congestion. Often there is sneezing, sore throat, fatigue. Often, such a mild painful condition is also noted, which experts call prodromal: there is no bright clinic, but feeling as if the person is getting sick– said Mikhail Murashko.

He reminded that pregnant women should also take care of vaccination and get vaccinated after the 22nd week.

– The fact is that among the sick, 15% are children. Particular attention is drawn to children from the neonatal period to four years. A vaccinated mother, especially a nursing mother, transfers protective forces: antibodies pass through breast milk, and thus the child also becomes protected, and close contact between mother and child becomes safer, Mikhail Murashko emphasized.

The Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation added that currently about 80% of patients are treated at home, but it is very important that people do not do it on their own, but go to a doctor.

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