Health News Roundup: Dutch authorities say 18 passengers from South Africa had Omicron; Six more U.S. states find Omicron cases, Delta still top U.S. coronavirus threat and more

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Below is a summary of current health news summaries.

Dutch authorities say 18 South African passengers were with Omicron

Dutch health authorities said on Saturday that the final tally of passengers on two flights from South Africa last week who tested positive for the omicron virus variant was 18. The Netherlands Institute of Health (RIVM) added in a statement that its investigation into the passengers on board the plane. The trips are now concluded.

Six more US states have found Omicron cases, and Delta continues to lead the US coronavirus threat

Six other US states confirmed the omicron variant of COVID-19 on Friday, but the Delta strain will likely remain a greater threat as winter rolls in and Americans gather for the holidays, experts said. New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Utah all reported their first cases of Omicron on Friday. Missouri was waiting for confirmation from the CDC regarding a case involving a St. Louis resident who had recently traveled within the United States.

South African official says number of children infected with COVID-19 is no reason for panic

The surge in hospitalizations of children during the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in South Africa led by the Omicron variant should spur vigilance but not panic as the infection was mild, a health official said on Saturday. The large number of children admitted with COVID-19 last month in Tshwane, the metropolitan area that includes the capital Pretoria, has raised concerns that the Omicron variant could pose greater risks to young children than other coronavirus variants.

India monitors third Omicron case and reports 415 deaths from COVID-19

India reported its third case of the Omicron coronavirus on Saturday, government officials said, as the total Covid-19 cases approached 35 million. Officials in western Gujarat said the patient who tested positive for Omicron was a 72-year-old man of Indian origin who had lived in Zimbabwe for decades, and returned on November 28.

Two hippos in a Belgian zoo test positive for COVID-19

Zoo staff say two hippos have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium in what could be the first reported cases of the species. The hippos Imani, 14, and Hermine, 41, showed no symptoms except for a runny nose, but the zoo said the couple had been placed in quarantine as a precaution.

Omicron variant may have picked up a piece of the common cold virus

The Omicron variant that causes COVID-19 likely obtained at least one of its mutations by picking up a snippet of genetic material from another virus — possibly a virus that causes the common cold — present in the same infected cells, according to the researchers. The researchers said that this genetic sequence does not appear in any previous versions of the coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, but is ubiquitous in many other viruses including those that cause the common cold, as well as in the human genome.

FDA clears use of pediatric antibody treatment for Lilly’s COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 dual-antibody treatment to treat mild to moderate symptoms in all children, including newborns, who are at risk for serious illness. Treatment, pamanivimab plus ecefimab, was previously permitted for children 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 88 pounds.

Merkel sends a farewell appeal to the Germans to get the vaccination

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans on Saturday to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to help reverse a fourth wave of cases that she said had become “tragic” in parts of the country. “We are in a very dangerous situation. In some parts of the country you can only describe it as tragic: the intensive care units are full, the seriously ill who have to fly through Germany to get the care they need,” she said.

Australia’s Omicron variant spreads, testing reopening plans

The coronavirus variant omicron spread in Australia on Saturday, testing plans to reopen the economy as a cluster in Sydney grew to 13 cases and an infection was suspected in Queensland. Federal authorities are sticking to a plan to reopen the economy in the hope that the new alternative will be more benign than previous strains, but some state and territory governments have moved to tighten their controls at local borders.

Explanation: Can an Omicron variant cause milder disease?

The Omicron variant, which is now spreading in South Africa and has been detected in more than 30 other countries, has raised concerns that it could significantly undermine the effectiveness of vaccines against COVID-19. However, as scientists race to understand the full consequences of Omicron, some are also questioning whether this new version of the coronavirus may cause milder disease than its predecessors. While they caution that it’s too early to draw conclusions, here’s what’s known so far:

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a shared feed.)


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