Because Omicron is the most contagious virus in history

Because Omicron is the most contagious virus in history
Because Omicron is the most contagious virus in history

Omicron is the virus with the fastest spreading in history: this is what the infectious disease specialist Bhattacharyya explained, who, to make people understand the speed with which this variant spreads, made a comparison with one of the most communicable viruses known, that of measles.

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The Omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2 is the most contagious and fastest-spreading virus in history, surpassing even the measles. To say it is Roby Bhattacharyya, infectious disease specialist at the General Hospital in Massachusetts, who thus commented on the characteristics of the mutation identified only a month in South Africa but now dominant in almost the whole world.

“This is an incredibly fast spread,” explained the expert, quoted by the Spanish newspaper The country, underlining its incredible speed and comparing it with measles, which in turn is normally very contagious. A person affected by this infectious disease, unvaccinated, infects an average of 15 other people; one affected by Omicron infects 6, according to the latest studies. But the difference is in the times of contagionMeasles needs 12 days on average, but Omicron only needs 4 or 5.

“A case of measles produces another 15 in 12 days, a case of Omicron produces 6 in four days; in eight days it produced 36, 216 in 12 days,” Bhattacharyya summarized. Also the medical historian and physician Anton Erkoreka he declares himself amazed by the speed with which Omicron propagates. “It is the most explosive virus and the fastest spreading virus in history,” he said. Erkoreka, director of the Basque Museum of History of Medicine, recalls that the black plague of the 14th century and the cholera of the 19th century – caused by bacteria – took years to spread around the world, unlike Omicron which in a few weeks gave life to millions of infections. The so-called Russian flu of 1889, possibly caused by another coronavirus, also took three months to cross the planet, like the original variant of SARS-CoV-2, detected in December 2019 in Wuhan. “But the Omicron variant broke his expansion record“concluded Erkoreka.

In agreement with his colleagues, he is also the epidemiologist William Hanage, co-director of the Center for Dynamics of Infectious Diseases at Harvard University, who recalled, to underline the incredible speed of diffusion of the variant, as in one of the Omicron outbreaks more studied, a party a Oslo with a guest recently arriving from South Africa, 81 of the 117 participants were infected. If there are few doubts about the contagiousness of Omicron, it is still necessary to verify it severity.

Bhattacharyya also pointed out that the new variant is probably 25% less severe than the Delta, dominant so far, in people who have not been vaccinated or who have previously recovered, according to the latest report from Imperial College London. Which is confirmed by six preliminary studies, as the Guardian, according to which while risking being more infectious it would be less lethal than other mutations of the virus because it is more likely to infect the naked than the lungs.

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