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In November, South African scientists raised concerns about a novel variant of the virus, now called omicron. This variant is being considered a concern and many countries have taken precautions to prevent it from spreading.

We know a lot about COVID-19Seems to be changing every minute.

It’s understandable, given the massive scale of the pandemic. There are more than 263 million casesTracking began in 2001 and has been completed all around the globe. And even now — as we’re inching closer to two full years of living with the coronavirus — the virus and ways to address it are still relatively new to the medical world, so researchers are learning as they go.

Yet, there is so much information on the coronavirus that it can seem overwhelming. It’s hard to keep track of what’s known, what’s a myth and what guidance we should follow. That’s why HuffPost has rounded up five of the most important new things we learned about COVID in November.

1. Omicron represents the most recent variant of concern.

Late November saw the World Health Organization identify a new form of concern. omicron. Now it has been detected in roughly 20 countriesThe first instance was found in the U.S. on Dec. 1), and global health experts are on high alert because it has a significant number of mutations — many on the all-important spike protein. Those mutations could be linked to “increased transmissibility and immune evasion,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has warned.

It is unclear at the moment if omicron has a higher transmission rate, is more susceptible to getting vaccinated or makes it more difficult for people to get vaccinated. Early reports indicate that some of the positive aspects have already been confirmed. symptoms associated with omicronAlthough they are mild, these are only anecdotal. The reports also don’t give any insight into potential long-term effects. Experts expect to have further information on what the omicron is for the pandemic within the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the new variant makes it more important than ever to mask up in public indoor settings or situations where social distancing isn’t an option, and to get as many people as possible vaccinated and boosted.

2. To almost all adults who have been fully vaccinated, boosters are recommended.

Federal health officials significantly increased the number of Americans who could be eligible for booster shots in November. After the detection of omicron, there was no stopping it. recommendation took on greater urgency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now advises all Americans to get a booster if it’s been six months since their initial Pfizer or Moderna shots, or if it’s been two months since they got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“The recent emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “Early data from South Africa suggest increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, and scientists in the United States and around the world are urgently examining vaccine effectiveness related to this variant.”

3. One in 100 patients with COVID may experience brain problems.

Studies of the neurological effects of COVID-19 have been done throughout the pandemic. looking at everything from brain fog to long-term memory issues. A sobering new studyA November conference presented data that showed approximately 1 out 100 COVID patients are admitted to hospital with serious central nervous system complications, such as stroke and hemorhage.

According to the study’s authors, its results point to a continuing need for study. AllThe COVID can affect all the organs, including the heart and lungs. These experts also recommend that doctors and health professionals take an in-depth look at COVID-19’s possible impact on brain function, even in the case of patients not suffering from severe illness.

“There should probably be a low threshold to order brain imaging for patients with COVID-19,” said study researcher Dr. Scott FaroThomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, where he is a professor of neurology and radiology.

4. It is more common for women to become COVID long-haulers than it is for men.

study published by a team of Mayo ClinicResearchers and doctors who treated patients at a post-COVID treatment clinic discovered that long-term COVID symptoms were more common in women than they are for men.

In addition to having an immune system that was stronger than usual, the women studied had lingering symptoms that extended into months.

“I think women can really handle the acute COVID probably better than men, their immune system can,” Dr. Ryan Hurt, head of Mayo’s post-COVID research and clinical efforts, told Kare11. “But that really pronounced immune response may also linger on longer than it should.”

The virus is still very new and experts continue to learn about post-COVID symptoms in real time. According to some estimatesAbout 25% of COVID-19 sufferers experience some form of long-term pain. These are the patients symptomsThis can cause ongoing problems in breathing, fatigue and sleep issues as well as changes in taste or smell and/or menstrual cycles.

5. Within weeks the first COVID pill may be on its way.

A festive celebration took place at the end November Food and Drug Administration advisory panel endorsed Merck’s oral COVID pillIt was approved by the Senate in just weeks. However, the vote was close, and several panelists raised questions about the “moderate” efficacy of the pill and called for it to be made available only to the unvaccinated.

Merck’s pill one of two antiviralsIf approved, it could be used at home to treat COVID. Pfizer also has a COVID tablet and is likely to apply soon for an emergency authorization. The hope is that taking these pills early on in the course of a person’s illness will stave off serious illness or death — though experts have been quick to caution that, even if the COVID pills are approved, they will NotAs a treatment for vaccinations, it can replace them.

“It’s an additional strategy that we have to help manage infection for people who are infected, but does not replace the value of vaccination,” Dr. Erica JohnsonChair of Infectious Disease Board of American Board of Internal Medicine. previously told HuffPost.

COVID-19 remains a mystery to experts. This story contains information that was available at the time of publication. However, guidance may change as more scientists learn about this virus. Please check the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionFor the latest recommendations, click here

Source: HuffPost.com.

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