“Until now, vaccines have proven to be very good at preventing severe disease,” says one expert. And 6 other questions about the variant that spreads rapidly around the world!!!
On Monday, January 10, the United States reported a record 1.35 million new infections, the highest daily number of any country, according to data from the Reuters agency.
And on Wednesday, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported that due to omicron, covid-19 infections in the Americas almost doubled in the last week.
1. Why is the omicron variant so contagious?
According to epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for covid-19, there are three main reasons:
- This variant of the virus developed mutations that allow it to adhere more easily to human cells.
- We have “escape immunity”. That is, people can be reinfected even if they have had the disease before or have been vaccinated.
- Omicron replicates in the upper respiratory tract, making it easier for the virus to spread, unlike delta and other variants that replicate mostly in the lower respiratory tract; that is, the lungs.
The Covid Vaccine Hub portal indicates that it is difficult to estimate how transmissible omicron is compared to other variants, but that some estimates from the UK Health Security Agency indicate that it may be between two and more than three times more contagious. than delta.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States (CDC, for its acronym in English) indicate that “it is likely” that omicron spreads more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2, but that “it is not yet known” how easy it spreads compared to the delta.
The CDC indicates that anyone infected with omicron can spread the virus, even if they are vaccinated or have no symptoms.
2. What are the symptoms?
According to the Zoe Covid Symptom Study, led by Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, so far it is known that the most common symptoms of the omicron variant are:
- Runny nose
- Fatigue (mild or severe)
- Throat pain
The National Health Service of the United Kingdom (NHS, for its acronym in English) indicates that we must continue to monitor the classic symptoms of covid:
- Continuous and sudden cough
- Fever or high temperature
- Loss or change in taste and smell