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Omicron dominates in US, announcements of restrictions by Biden and Scholz

The Omicron variant is now largely in the majority in the United States, where President Joe Biden is due to deliver a speech on Tuesday, while in Germany, the new Chancellor Olaf Scholz will announce restrictions, without confinement on the agenda .

Omicron represented 73, 2% of new Covid infections – 19 in the United States during the week that ended 18 December, according to data from the American health authorities released Monday evening. The previous week the figure was only 12, 6%.

The proportion Omicron hovers around 95% of cases in one group of northwestern states (Oregon, Washington and Idaho) and another in the southeast, including Florida, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

The United States is the most bereaved country in the world in absolute terms, with more than 807. 000 0 dead, and the White House adviser on the health crisis, Dr Anthony Fauci, had announced Sunday “difficult weeks or months as we approach winter”.

It is in this context that Joe Biden is due to announce Tuesday new “measures” aimed at ” increase access to screening “for Covid, according to its spokesperson, Jen Psaki. The president will insist on “the risks run by unvaccinated individuals”, but no “confinement of the country” is planned, she specified.

The Democrat, largely elected on the promise to put an end to the epidemic, does not have, at the federal level, many levers. And the few restrictive measures it has taken, in particular vaccination in large companies, come up against legal proceedings and fuel the speeches of the republican opposition on an attack on individual freedoms.

– Restrictions in Germany –

In Germany, the government is preparing to tighten health restrictions on the New Year, according to a project consulted on Monday by AFP and which is still to be discussed on Tuesday during a crisis meeting between the government and representatives of 16 German regions, followed by a press conference by Olaf Scholz.

From 24 December, excluding children under 14 years, people vaccinated or cured will not be able to welcome in their homes more than 06 invited and provided that ‘they are all immune, according to the text. Non-vaccinated persons, for their part, are only allowed to invite a maximum of two people from one household.

Sporting events, such as Bundesliga football matches, will take place “without spectators “from 28 December and until further notice, as well as cultural events and concerts, according to a second amended text broadcast in the evening. Discotheques and dance clubs will be closed.

Unlike neighboring Netherlands, Germany does not plan to close non-essential shops, cinemas or restaurants, considering it sufficient to limit their access to vaccinated or cured people.

The leading European economy has been affected since the beginning of autumn by a virulent resumption of the epidemic linked to the Delta variant. The level of contamination is between 28. 000 0 and 50. 000 0 additional cases every 24 hours.

The group of experts advising the government sounded the alarm on Sunday in the face of Omicron’s progress and pleaded for further reductions in contacts “as soon as possible.”

– Objective 2022 –

The United States and the Germany are following in the footsteps of many countries putting on the brakes on the epidemic.

The Labor mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced Monday evening the cancellation of the festivities planned in the British capital for the New An, like Morocco, which has also instituted a curfew between midnight and 06 H 00.

To protect yourself, you have to “in some cases cancel an event”, explained Monday the boss of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, because “a canceled event is better than a life less”. He launched the goal of a Covid endpoint for 2022 “ensuring that 70% of the population of each country is vaccinated” d ‘here at mid – 2022.

At his side, the scientific chief of the WHO, the doctor Soumya Swaminathan, affirmed that the first data of South Africa had shown that hospitalizations linked to Omicron remained less numerous than during the previous Delta waves.

It is “still too early to conclude that this is a moderate variant”, a- she concluded, however, about this strain detected for the first time in South Africa and Botswana in November and which presents multiple mutations.

Moderna assured that a recall made with a full dose of its vaccine, instead of half a dose as is currently the case, further increased its effectiveness against this variant.

On Monday, the European Union authorized a 5th anti-Covid vaccine, that of the American Novavax, using a technology more traditional than those used for previously authorized vaccines.

Because of Omicron, the World Economic Forum, which was to meet from 17 to 21 January in Davos (Switzerland), has been postponed.

The pandemic has made at least 5, 35 million dead worldwide since the WHO office in China reported the onset of the disease in late December 2019, according to a report drawn up by AFP on Monday, undoubtedly lower than reality.