February 2022 COVID update

Omicron BA.1 & BA.2

Omicron spread within households = 30-40%, but lower if vaccinated and boosted

BA.2 is 1.5x more transmissible than the original omicron strain (which was already insanely contagious)

“a preliminary assessment found that BA.2 doesn’t appear to reduce the effectiveness of vaccines any more than the original omicron. A booster dose was 70% effective at preventing symptomatic illness from BA.2 two weeks after receiving the shot, compared with 63% effectiveness for the original omicron strain.” That’s good at least.

Epidemic or Endemic

“The idea that herd immunity from widespread Omicron infection will last longer than a few months is a mass delusion propagating in all forms of media. It’s the type of delusion sure to gain traction in a world where we are all absolutely sick and tired of the pandemic.” – Blake Murdoch “If we keep approaching every variant as if it will be the last, we will never get out of this. The people who have been saying “this isn’t over” have been ignored at almost every step of this pandemic, and they have also been right every time.”

Getting Omicron doesn’t give enough immunity to not get Omicron again immediately (pre-print):

This is really frustrating because the “narrative” is that we’ll all get Omicron and be fine, the end. And the people who have bought into this appealing narrative have stopped paying attention to contradictory evidence because they just want this all over – so they won’t even hear about this. But what if it is we get Omicron, then we get Omicron, then we get Omicron, like Blake Murdoch ponders – can our bodies handle being sick that much, even if it is a “mild” illness?

Based on its behavior so far, covid may always be an epidemic, as was smallpox for so much of human history, per Raina MacIntyre, a professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales in Sydney

“The public health goal is to keep the effective R — which is R0 modified by interventions such as vaccines, masks or other mitigations — below 1,” she told CNBC. “But if the R0 is higher than 1, we typically see recurrent epidemic waves for respiratory transmitted epidemic infections.” Welp, hope she’s wrong but not holding my breath, especially since the US is full of people who prioritize “normality” and political polarization / power over the safety of elderly and immunocompromised people (and everyone else):

And it certainly doesn’t help that the entire world has decided it’s fine for workers to spread the disease because businesses need butts in chairs – making people return to work when they are still contagious:

“We won’t end the virus this year, we won’t ever end the virus — what we can end is the public health emergency,” – Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme

It’s best to manage the virus outside our bodies- preventing exposure – than relying on vaccines to save us after exposure – vaccines are our final defense:


Heart disease increased for a year after infection

Long COVID is *new* symptoms:


Wearing a N95 mask indoors reduced odds of getting COVID by 83% – pre-Omicron data

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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