Omicron’s “secret”: because it is more infectious

Omicron’s “secret”: because it is more infectious
Omicron’s “secret”: because it is more infectious

That the variante Omicron Covid-19 is the most transmissible of all those that have appeared so far by now everyone knows. In South Africa, where it was discovered by the WHO on November 24, it caused a surge in cases of 300% in one week, tripling the daily infections.

The R0: because it is transmitted more

By now we have also noticed it in Europe and in our country which on 31 December reached the absolute record of daily infections equal to 144,243. The most important study to date conducted by Imperial College London claims that Omicron has a 5.4 higher ability to reinfect than the previous variant. But the thing that makes the most difference is the incubation time, reduced to three days compared to Delta’s 4-6: this is why, not even the time to discover the virus and isolate oneself, that the infection spreads in the population. But there is more. According to some scholars, Omicron’s R0 which represents the “basic reproduction number“and therefore” lan average amount of secondary infections produced by each infected individual“, could have a value of 10 compared to 2.5 of the original Wuhan strain.

“Tsunami of cases”

Unfortunately, it is easy to do this mathematical operation: each infected with Omicron can infect 10 people, at the beginning of the pandemic the same infected could infect two and a half. “I am very concerned that Omicron, being more transmissible and circulating at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases“said the director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during an online press conference. The problem is for hospitals: although the new variant is less dangerous than Delta, the simultaneous action of the two viral strains could cause “enormous pressure on already exhausted health workers and health systems, which are close to collapse“, referring above all to countries of the world where vaccination is very poor.

The “race” of Omicron

The new variant is already dominant in the United Kingdom and the United States, soon it will also be dominant in Italy. The fact that it spreads quickly and partly escapes the antibodies produced by the vaccine (especially after two doses) inevitably increases the number of hospitalized patients. And this is the concern of prof. Massimo Andreoni, head of infectious disease at the Tor Vergata Polyclinic in Rome, who in the Corriere della Sera underlines the risk of hospitalization and not to underestimate Omicron because, even if less dangerous than Delta, “it will be no less than 10 years before it becomes a simple cold“. The ISS (Istituto Superiore di Sanità) is also worried about very high infections in the pediatric age group 5-11 years. This is why it becomes essential to protect children and young people, so much so that we try to immunize the 16-17 years old and the frail between 12 and 15. In New York, pediatric hospitals have seen pediatric hospitalizations increase by 5 times while, nationally, the United States recorded a + 35%.

The turnaround begins in South Africa

As we wrote in Giornale.it, however, in the face of the new pandemic emergency, in South Africa there is a decline in infections after the peak that occurred last week and hospitalizations, compared to the Delta variant, were 40% lower. According to experts, the peak in Italy is expected in mid-January, then we too should see an attenuation of the cases. In any case, to deal with the Delta and Omicron variant, the password always remains the same: vaccination.

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