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What to Expect From the Next Phase of the Pandemic

The Daily

The New York Times

News, Daily News

4.597.8K Ratings

🗓️ 17 December 2021

⏱️ 27 minutes

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Summary

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is incredibly contagious — it is able to infect people with even greater frequency than the Delta variant, and it is skilled at evading the immune system’s defenses. Much is still unknown about the new variant, and scientists are racing to understand its threat. But amid the uncertainty, there’s good news about a prospective new virus treatment: A pill by Pfizer is effective in reducing people’s risk of hospitalization or death from Covid-19. We explore these two developments and what they could mean for the next phase of the pandemic. Guest: Carl Zimmer, a science writer and author of the “Matter” column for The New York Times.

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0:00.0

From New York Times, I'm Michael Bavaro. This is it Ailey.

0:07.0

Today, as infections once again surge, what we're learning about the Omicron variant

0:18.2

and a new treatment for COVID and what both could mean for the next phase of the pandemic.

0:25.6

I spoke with my colleague, Science reporter Carl Zimmer.

0:32.6

It's Friday, December 17th.

0:39.6

So, Carl, the last time we devoted an episode to the pandemic, the Omicron variant had just

0:46.2

emerged.

0:47.2

And our colleague, a poor vomonta-vili, told us that when it came to the big questions

0:51.6

about this variant, how contagious is it, how good is it, elevating vaccines, how sick

0:57.1

might it make us, we had to wait a couple of weeks.

1:00.3

And we did that. We patiently waited, but now we demand answers.

1:04.5

So what do you know?

1:06.6

Well, if you're vaccinated and you're boosted, you're probably going to be in good shape

1:15.3

when it comes to fending off the variant.

1:18.0

If you're not, then the picture is more complicated.

1:21.7

What do you mean?

1:22.7

Well, we know that Omicron is really contagious.

1:27.4

It's about two to three times as likely to infect people as the Delta variant.

1:32.8

Wow.

1:33.8

We're seeing that in case after case.

1:37.1

So for example, in Norway, there was a Christmas party on December 8th and there were 111

1:43.7

people at the party.

...

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