U.S. first confirmed Omicron...

Pouch in the White House briefing room

Today (2nd), the first confirmed case of Omicron was also officially announced in the United States.

A California resident who arrived from South Africa on November 22, was confirmed on November 29 and is self-isolating.

After a long time, White House Chief Medical Adviser Fauci came to the briefing room and made the announcement.

Everyone expected this to happen, but the tension of the briefing was noticeably high when it was announced that a confirmed case of Omicron was revealed.

Early last year, Dr. Fauci, who was standing side by side with President Trump during a corona briefing, overlapped, but it was even more terrifying because it seemed like he was having a dream that he did not wake up from.

Now that people who have already entered the country last week are now being reported, it is easy to predict that there will be another flood of Omicron infections in the United States in the future.




U.S. travel restrictions are also expected to be strengthened. Previously, those who received the vaccine had to be tested for Corona three days before departure, but they will be taken to the test one day before and have decided to change it to one that requires another test even after entering the country. However, although the announcement has been made, many difficulties are expected in the future implementation process. In the United States, where administrative power is difficult to reach like in Korea, it is difficult to draw a picture of who will handle all of the corona tests after entering the country. Some rural sheriffs even lied down not long ago for not even cracking down on the governor's mandatory mask measures. Although the announcement has been made, it seems that confusion in the United States will be inevitable for some time to come. Still, the policy of strengthening quarantine measures to respond to Omicron mutations is highly welcomed by health experts. In fact, the United States has not taken the basic quarantine measures it should be taking, so even now, 70,000 people are infected with the coronavirus a day.



The biggest problem is that no matter how hard the US government tries, those who refuse to vaccinate show no signs of changing their minds.

There are still over 60 million people living in every corner of society who have never been vaccinated, and unfortunately these are the biggest targets for mutant viruses to attack.

Dr. Fauci emphasized the importance of vaccinating them today, but it seems virtually impossible to vaccinate them.

Dr. Fauci persuaded that the booster shot would boost immunity and fight omicron well, but with so many people who've never been hit, booster shots seem a long way to go.

In the United States, vaccines have become the subject of a culture war, and scientific explanations no longer work.


Why are you banned from entering the country when there are no confirmed cases of Omicron?

Pouch Embarrassing Question

The most impressive question at the White House briefing today was when a black reporter, who is believed to be of African descent, asked why the United States made countries with no Omicron cases such as Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique an entry ban. It is true that Korea adopted the same as the international standard for the countries that the United States set for entry bans to eight countries, including South Africa. It is said that there are no officially confirmed cases of Omicron in these countries, but Dr. Fauci received a very good question and bluntly answered that he hopes to lift the entry ban before serious damage occurs as it is a temporary measure to buy time.



It is true that these countries are being beaten because they are located near South Africa, where Omicron was first discovered and announced to the international community. Given the poor diagnostic testing infrastructure, we can only assume that Omicron was already rampant. It is clear that these assumptions, at least, are not based on 'science'. South Africa, the leader of these countries, can only think of why they are being humiliated like this when they change their position even if they don't receive an award. It's even more embarrassing because I discovered Omicron for nothing, but it was also threshed by surrounding countries. You might think that if you had followed China's easy path, which was consistent with information hiding and non-cooperation in the early days of the Corona virus, you would not have been subjected to such an insult. There are even reports that Omicron specimens were found in the Netherlands before the outbreak in South Africa. From this point on, African countries seem to have a lot of injustice.



Still, the dedication of South African scientists needs to go down in history.

I've been looking for some South African corona briefings on YouTube these days, and it's actually very high quality.

The epidemiologists appearing were world-class experts, and I even thought they were giving more detailed explanations than the US coronavirus briefing.

(The U.S. coronavirus briefing is clear to non-expert reporters, so they speak a lot of the language of the public.) Because South Africa has so many HIV-related researchers, it is said that there are world-class scholars and research institutes.

Dr. Fauci also frequently communicates with South African infectious disease experts and says that he is getting a lot of help in identifying Omicron's identity.



"It was completely different from those infected with delta mutations"...

Why was Dr. Kuche's intuition about mutation?

Dr. Angelique Kuche of South Africa played a major role in helping Omicron got its name through mutation. Dr. Kuche, president of the Medical Association of South Africa and also a practicing physician, has been featured in interviews with media such as the BBC and The Telegraph and that Omicron's patients do not have severe symptoms. It was the answer everyone wanted, but in fact, I was curious as to the reason behind it. The answer is based on clinical evidence, but I was curious to see how Omicron works, which scientists are nervous about because it is a monster mutation, and what people who have seen it with their own eyes think. I searched the contact information and sent an e-mail to receive an answer, and even made a phone call to get a job offer, but I was grateful for taking the time to take care of the patient and arrange an interview. Although it was dawn in Washington time when the video call was taken, there was excitement in hearing the words of the doctor who first discovered Omicron. Now, I thought that the era of borders is meaningless if only language is spoken.




The main symptoms of Omicron-infected patients that Dr. Kuche described were extreme fatigue, body aches, and a sore throat. In South Africa, the delta mutation is the dominant species to say the least, and he explained that he had never seen a patient with this kind of symptom before. Delta is so powerful that many patients lose their sense of taste and smell, and eventually have to wear a respirator. Compared to the intense delta, the symptoms are mild. He was confirmed with Corona, but his symptoms were mild, so Dr. Kuche said he was very worried that he might be missing something. There was a group of doctors discussing medical information, and there were doctors who had patients with similar symptoms. Dr. Kuche was also a member of the South African Vaccine Advisory Board, so it seems that it was easy for him to give an opinion to the government. It was the 18th of the last month when I requested the test like that. So a new mutation called Omicron, completely different from Delta, gets a name and takes off its mask.




However, Dr. Kuche was very uncomfortable with the fact that only the mild symptoms were featured.

Of course, it is true that the patients whom Dr. Kuche cared for had mild symptoms.

However, I explained that what I was saying was that the symptoms of Omicron can be this mild, so do not ignore it and go to the hospital to see a doctor.

However, during the interview, foreign media also complained that the symptoms were mild, so they just got stuck and couldn't even remember what they were saying behind the scenes.

In the meantime, foreign media have been using it so much, so he emphasized with strength, saying, "Just because it's a mild symptom doesn't mean you don't need to worry about the virus."

He also complained that he had no choice but to make the explanation not to ignore the symptoms so long.


"More sick people will come out... Vaccinated people get sick less and recover faster"

Omicron diffusion is only the beginning, globally.

Although it has not yet landed on land, it is like a typhoon that floats in the sea with great rain and wind and moves north.

When I asked what he thought about the opinion that the situation could get worse in the future, Dr. Kuche said, "I totally agree."

Most of the patients he cared for were young patients under the age of 40. Soon, the infection among the elderly with chronic diseases would spread through community transmission, and then greater damage than now is inevitable.

Of course, I hope that only patients with mild symptoms will come out, but they also offered a grim outlook that the situation could change rapidly in the next one or two weeks.




The question of whether the existing coronavirus vaccine is effective for Omicron is expected to take a few more weeks, with scientific data coming out.

But when he saw his patients clinically, he explained that those who got the vaccine were less ill and recovered faster.

Of course, it is difficult to generalize the personal experiences of such doctors, but in many cases, similar results can be obtained even after collecting data later in the field.

Even journalists cannot ignore the personal feeling they feel when they cover a huge discourse.

Although more data needs to be collected in the future, it was one of the most comforting remarks for me personally.



It is no exaggeration to say that Omicron is a monster created by vaccine inequality.

Dr. Kuche explained that the pressure to mutate increases as people with immune problems, such as HIV infection, are repeatedly infected with the coronavirus without getting the vaccine.

So he stressed the need for vaccination in Africa.



When I asked if there was any advice for Korea, Dr. Kuche emphasized the most basic point.

They told me to wear a mask, keep distance and get vaccinated.

He also added a urging to avoid places where many people gather and to practice thorough personal hygiene.

In fact, living with Corona for over two years, this is the correct answer for the SAT that we all already know.

However, to what level and how to protect this is a very difficult and fiercely debated issue.

The identity of Omicron is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.

I hope that this unidentified mutation does not hold back countries around the world, including Korea, which have started their economic activities with difficulty.


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