The World Health Organization (WHO) classified B.1.1.529 (omicron), first detected in South Africa, as a COVID-19 variant of concern.
One model from the Financial Times suggests the omicron variant is 500% more transmissible than the delta variant.
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A study of 211,000 COVID-19 cases and 78,000 Omicron variant cases found that the vaccine is only 33% effective at preventing infection by 70% effective at preventing hospitalization.
In anticipation of a wave of cases due to the COVID-19 omicron variant, NYC requires private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccination for in-person workers. Every worker must have their first vaccine does by December 27, 2021.
While remote work is obviously better for reducing exposure to COVID-19 than going to the office, the rapid increase in Omicron cases shows that remote work has little impact on reducing Omicron case counts. Anecdotally, several people I’ve worked with over the last two weeks have gotten it—all vaccinated and working from home.
Now in clinical trials, Walter Reed researchers have developed a vaccine that appears to be effective against all strains COVID-19. Since our primary defence against COVID has been vaccination, this is a huge boon with the rise of a highly contagious omicron variant with vaccine escape (Pfizer and Moderna).