Public Health ‘Experts’ Have A New COVID Boogeyman Called “Stealth” Omicron
Deaths involving patients infected with COVID have risen in the US recently, even as case numbers have continued to decline. But what’s even more concerning is that a growing percentage of overall deaths are being attributed to ‘breakthrough’ infections involving vaxxed & booster patients). It’s just the latest example of how narratives pushed by the government change as they are confronted with contradictory evidence (this time, it’s the notion that the vaccinated would escape death, something we now know to be untrue).
Despite this, it seems like people across the US and around the world are growing more bold as the longing to return to “normal” intensifies. In northern Europe, Denmark and the Netherlands are abandoning COVID restrictions even as the outbreak has persisted.
At the same time, scientists around the world have found something new with which to prime the public for Booster No. 4 (now that both Pfizer and Moderna have started human trials for their omicron-focused jabs): A new sub-variant called “stealth omicron”, also known as BA.2.
According to NBC News, “stealth omicron” isn’t a new COVID variant, and has not yet been classified as a variant of interest or concern by the WHO. “It’s still omicron,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady on Tuesday. “It’s just…sort of certain letters point one versus certain letters point two. It’s a slight variation in terms of what is being picked up, but I want to be really clear it has not even been classified as a variant of interest yet… this isn’t even a new variant.” Instead, it’s “a slightly different flavor of omicron.”
“Stealth omicron” has been detected in 40 countries so far. It got its nickname because of its particular genetic traits, which make it more difficult to detect. Some scientists worry it could also be more contagious.
To be sure, there’s still plenty that we don’t know about the new variant, including whether it evades vaccines better or causes more severe disease. Right now, its ability to evade detection has led to its nickname. There’s also some evidence that it’s more contagious than the original omicron variant.
“There’s nothing that we’ve seen at this point that is raising a high level of concern but please rest assured we’re watching it and we’ll let you know if there’s anything to be interested or concerned about,” Arwady said.
For now, BA.2 will remain a “subset” of omicron. But that could change quickly. If it deems the sub-variant a new “variant of concern”, BA.2 could be granted a Greek letter name of its own.
Government scientists are already looking into it. The UK Health Security Agency has designated BA.2 a “variant under investigation” due to the rising numbers of cases involving the sub-variant found inside the UK, and abroad. Although the data leaves plenty for scientists to be concerned about, omicron still remains the dominant strain throughout the UK.
“We have some indications that it just may be as contagious or perhaps slightly more contagious than (original) omicron since it’s able to compete with it in some areas,” said Dr. Wesley Long, a pathologist at Houston Methodist in Texas, which has identified three cases of BA.2. “But we don’t necessarily know why that is.”
Speaking on CNBC Friday morning, former FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb dismissed the threat posed by “stealth omicron” after being prodded about it by his interlocutors. Dr. Gottlieb insisted that the next generation of omicron-focused vaccines would provide more than adequate protection against any omicron sub-variants, of which there are many.
“If this new #omicron variant has an antigenic profile that’s fairly similar to the exiting version of #omicron … you would expect a vaccine based on the current version of omicron to also offer protection against this new variant,” @ScottGottliebMD on new omicron variants. pic.twitter.com/20KFJKM5PF
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) January 28, 2022
Certainly the vaccine seems to be just as protective if not more protective against this new…version,” Gottlieb said, citing data from a small UK study examining the “stealth” subvariant.
That sounds like bad news for Pfizer, Moderna and their armies of scientists-cum-marketing professionals.
Fri, 01/28/2022 – 16:40