Health

Covid, new XE variant more contagious: the symptoms

While Omicron 2 is gradually replacing Omicron 1 and spreads like wildfire around the world – in China we are witnessing the biggest lockdown ever, with over 25 million people in lockdown -, the World Health Organization says it is closely monitoring a new strain of the Omicron variant: XEmix between BA.1 and BA.2.

Health officials are continuing to closely monitor and assess the public health risk associated with the variants, along with other coronavirus variants, and will provide updates as more evidence becomes available. According to the WHO, Covid remains a public health emergency of international concern, and warns that it is “too early” to reduce the level of surveillance.

Variant XE: what we know

“XE belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences can be found in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity,” the WHO says in its report.

XE was first detected in the UK on 19 January and over 600 cases have been recorded since then. Early estimates indicate that the new strain appears to be the 10% more transmissible than the Omicron 2 varianteven if it takes more time to confirm (here the new symptoms of Omicron 2 discovered and here how Covid modifies the brain).

The Tata Institute for Genetics and Society has urged the citizens of the country not to panic and closely monitor the development of the variant. TIGS director Rakesh Mishra said there is currently no indication that the new mutation could cause a new wave of Covid.

“There is currently no indication that this new variant is strong enough to cause a new wave. We have to wait a little longer to comment on how transmissible it can be, ”she said. Mishra also stressed that it is important to take all safety measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Because we are not out of the pandemic yet

Then he urged people not to underestimate how much we are experiencing: “It is a pity that a certain section of society seems anxious to declare that the pandemic is over. People should care by using masks, administering vaccines as a rule, and avoiding unnecessary grouping in crowded spaces, especially indoors. It is necessary to act civilly by wearing masks “.

At least masks should remain mandatory, several experts say (here how much we will remove them in Italy). Many countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Hong Kong, are reporting a significant increase in cases. Asian giants, such as India, could extend all anti-Covid measures and restrictions just lifted, and they could do so until there is a sustained drop in new cases, perhaps even for a year, doctors explain.

All this while Italy has now embarked on the path of free all, with an end-of-restrictions road map that will lead us in May to say goodbye to almost all anti-Covid control measures (here the end-of-restrictions calendar with all the at your place).

Variant XE: symptoms, danger and vaccine coverage

There is currently very little information regarding the symptoms, consequences and vaccine coverage compared to the new XE strain. The symptoms seem for now to be the usual ones associated with Covid, in particular cough, cold, fever.

“So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about the vaccine’s transmissibility, severity or efficacy,” explained Professor Susan Hopkins, senior medical consultant at the UK Health Security Agency (Ukhsca), an agency that is monitoring the variant.

The variant is still under observation“, explains Walter Ricciardi, advisor to the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza, “there are 600 cases in Great Britain, which is the country that facilitates the selection of variants because since 24 February it has not had any kind of precaution”. For the moment it no longer seems lethal, but the fact that it is more contagious is worrying because it creates a huge spread of the infection, with the involvement not only of patients but also of health professionals, he points out.

In Great Britain at the moment to wait for an ambulance “it takes even 20 hours and the average wait for an elective surgery is 10 years, this means that citizens are unable to access health services. We have to avoid this, ”she says.

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Who hits the most

The new variant Xe seems more contagious and a person who has two doses today “is practically not vaccinated” Ricciardi warns. To protect against the new sub-variant it is therefore even more fundamental to undergo the third dose of vaccine.

“This disease does not give permanent immunity, even a cured person can get reinfected. Up to 4% of people reinfect and there are people who reinfect more than twice. We have to mentally prepare for a long-lasting battle that does not end with the legal emergency: vaccinations, green passes, masks and wise behavior must be kept ”she declares.

Extension yes or no?

Ricciardi also goes back to the knot masks, which will be abolished by us from May 1st, unless otherwise indicated by the government. “It is clear that the masks are a very important garrison and unfortunately as long as we have such contagious variants, they must be kept, especially inside but also outside ”.

Health Minister Speranza clearly said that the decision on the mask indoors will be made on the basis of the infectionsand since it is likely that infections will increase with such a contagious variant, we may find ourselves having to keep them for quite a while.

“The R0 of the Wuan variant was 2.4-2.6, here we are between 15 and 22, that is, every person who enters an enclosed space infects between 15 and 22 on average. It is clear that if these people without the masks everyone gets infected ”, Ricciardi reiterated,“ as we saw in the case of the Italy-India flight: in the time that people took off their masks to eat, everyone became infected ”.

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