Thursday, January 13, 2022

Interesting Information on the Spread of the Omicron Variant

 As most of us now know, the Omicron variant is much more infectious than other forms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  We've seen it rapidly spread from its early detection in South Africa across the globe in a matter of weeks.

I remember reading about it when it first appeared.  There was some initial speculation (not a lot was known about it in the very beginning of its detection) that it was more easily spread than other variants.  I thought "if that's the case, sealing countries off from South Africa won't help because it will have already spread".  That was clearly the case.  Omicron spread like no other variant and has created a virtual tsunami of infections around the world.

Now comes science to tell us just *how* much this one has spread.  A study found on MedRxiv states the following:  These findings strongly suggest that Omicron has a much higher rate of asymptomatic carriage than other VOC and this high prevalence of asymptomatic infection is likely a major factor in the widespread, rapid dissemination of the variant globally, even among populations with high prior rates of SARS-COV-2 infection.

That study found that asymptomatic spread of Beta and Delta variants was about 2.6% while Omicron comes in at 16%.  That is a huge increase of carriage!  

It definitely pays to mask up and if possible, upgrade your everyday mask wear to a N-95 grade.  While nothing is 100% effective, with the amount of spread before the onset of symptoms you could be walking through a veritable "cloud" of virus particles from people who at that moment feel perfectly fine, but are shedding virus like crazy.

For the page containing this study, here is the link.  

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