Boosters prove their effectiveness against Omicron

Leading Covid indicators in Homer were mixed after remaining largely flat for the previous two weeks. Derotha Ferraro, of South Peninsula Hospital, said demand for tests was lower and only 840 were administered. One hundred and nine were positive, for a positivity rate of 13%, down from 19% the previous week.

“For the week ending February 1, we had 12 covid-related ER visits and that’s the same number as the previous week. We had four new hospital admissions with covid, and that’s higher than the previous week which was two. But on just about any day in the last week, we’ve only had one or two patients hospitalized with covid,” Ferraro said.

The State of Alaska Division of Epidemiology has released figures on the effectiveness of the booster against the Omicron variant and found that it increases protection against infection, hospitalization and death three times better. than vaccines alone. Alaska Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll said the booster is essential to staying healthy.

“Omicron has, you know, over 50 different mutations, and 30 of them are related to this spike protein, or these little bits that protrude from each virus at the SARS-CoV-2 particle itself- even and vaccines, in part, work with this peak in order to prevent infection, serious illness and death.So one of the main concerns that we had and were watching closely was whether these vaccines will work with Omicron. And the interesting and unique thing that we found with that is that the answer is yes, they continue to do a good job of preventing serious illness and death. However, the recall is incredibly important,” said Carol said.

Carroll said the Omicron variant is transmitted so easily that at least half the population will contract it. The state study showed that a previously infected patient who subsequently received the booster has even better immunity.

“And there are a lot of people out there who have had covid or have covid right now. Probably 50-60% of the population will get Omicron, or more. You know, it’s just a pattern or a best guess, and I guess I’m pointing that out because, you know, it really doesn’t care who you are. It infects a lot of people so I would like to push away any kind of stigma. I mean if you are sick, call, contact your doctor and explore treatment options and hopefully you will feel better soon,” Carrol said.

A listener question submitted to Covid Brief asked about fan demands in the stands at school sporting events this winter, saying they were surprised at the low rate of mask usage. Pegge Erkeneff of the school district responded.

“So it’s optional and strongly encouraged. Most of the time, you know, that’s how most schools operate, plus to add that we have building use agreements with other outside groups that use our schools for their events and plans attenuation are chosen by them. Thus, the school district does not put a mitigation plan in addition to what an outside group using our school facilities would be. And again, I think you know I, we all know there are people who want to choose to wear a face covering and people who don’t, so that’s where we’re at. we’re in our communities and I know some people would feel safer if more people wore face coverings and some didn’t, so we’ve been navigating this tension for a few years now,” Erkeneff said.

Another question was about mailed home tests and their expiration dates. Carroll said each box will have an expiration date, and at this point CovidTests.gov’s tests shouldn’t expire for another year or two.

Sara H. Byrd