Crown Heights Hatzalah has issued an important update regarding the new Omicron COVID variant. “After weeks and months of relative quiet, this week we saw a sudden and marked uptick of COVID cases in the neighborhood. This strain is 20x more contagious than previous strains.“
13 Teves, 5782
December 17, 2021
Yesterday, Thursday Yud-Beis Teves, there was a sudden and marked uptick of COVID cases in the neighborhood. This, after weeks and months of relative quiet. Although not yet proven, all indicators would suggest that this is due to the new Omicron strain.
What we know about the Omicron strain from South African data as it unfolds, is the following:
- It is much more contagious (20x) than previous strains.
- Those who were infected with the original strain, or the Delta strain, are only minimally protected, and reinfection is very common.
- People who have taken 2 doses of the vaccine, more than 6 months ago, are less likely to be infected. However, the protection afforded is certainly not adequate, and appears less than 50% effective at this time. Booster doses of vaccine do increase protection considerably.
- The monoclonal antibody infusions, that have been used so effectively to lessen the illness, do not appear to be very useful against the Omicron strain.
- The good news is that although still potentially very dangerous, the illness associated with the Omicron strain appears less severe, with fewer deaths and hospitalizations B”H.
With all the above in mind, and very few precautions in place currently within the community, the potential for a rapid and widespread outbreak exists locally.
We urge all those who may be vulnerable in any way, particularly the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions, as well as the general public, to take the above information to heart, and protect themselves, using all of the mitigation strategies well known to everyone.
A good and healthy Shabbos,
Crown Heights Hatzalah