What are the asymptomatic rates for Omicron? Why you need to stay cautious for 2022
The pandemic has lingered for almost two years, which can be unsettling. With new variants manifesting in various ways with different symptoms, it can also leave you wondering whether or not you or a loved one has the latest strain of COVID-19. Of course, test kits can help you determine whether you’re infected, but there is much to know about Omicron, the newest COVID variant and how it affects the population.
One of the reasons that the original strain of COVID is so dangerous is that it takes up residence in the lungs, causing significant complications, especially among those that are immunocompromised or have underlying health issues. It can also cause pneumonia, which is hard to get rid of, especially in older or sick folks. Wearing a mask and protecting yourself and others can help stop the pandemic.
When the Delta variant entered the scene, it was more contagious and spread faster than the first strain (now dubbed Alpha). With the emergence of Omicron, there is more information to communicate — some of which may relieve your mind. Here are a few significant points to know about the newest variant.
40 % of people are asymptomatic
Many of those who get Omicron don’t realize that they are infected and could be passing it on to others. A newly released study on the JAMA Network Open stated that asymptomatic folks are unaware that they have the virus and are responsible for 40 % of the new cases. Curiosity and awareness about having Omicron without accompanying symptoms are among the best reasons to use MyZone Rapid Test Kits.
Unlike the Delta variant, Omicron replicates 70 times quicker in the nasal cavity and tissues that line airways. However, the new variant multiplies ten times slower than the Alpha strain.
How fast does the new variant spread?
Essentially, because of its primary location and replication speed, Omicron spreads more quickly. In addition, having the virus close to the opening of the nasal cavity makes it easier to spread. However, this variant might not be as harmful on the body’s deeper tissues, such as the airways inside the lungs.
What’s the mortality rate for Omicron?
The possibility of more fatalities isn’t to scare you, but all comes down to numbers. Although the impact is less with Omicron, the fact that more folks will be infected simply increases the likelihood of more deaths. In a recent HKU Med Study, Dr. Michael Chan Chi-wai stated, “By infecting many more people, a very infectious virus may cause more severe disease and death even though the virus itself may be less pathogenic.”
Is the vaccine enough to fight the new strain?
The same study by HKU also found that Omicron infects many who have received both vaccine doses and the booster. So although having the vaccine can lessen the effects, it may not protect you altogether. Dr. Chi-wai also said, “The Omicron variant can partially escape immunity from vaccines and past infection; the overall threat from Omicron variant is likely to be very significant.”
Constant testing and social distancing continue to be critical for anyone trying to stay safe.
Omicron has a firmer grip on cells
Instead of the weak, shoulder-to-shoulder hug of the previous strains, Omicron is like the tight hug from the grandparent who doesn’t want to let go. It attaches to cells and antibodies and simply doesn’t want to release. This information all comes down to the molecular science of Omicron’s grip, and a test from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory proves that fact.
Although both good and bad news surrounds Omicron, keep following safety protocols. Wear your mask, practice social distancing, and stay current with your vaccinations. Additionally, test yourself regularly with our MyZone Rapid Test Kits. The peace of mind from your test results can keep you and those around you safe and healthy as we further navigate the pandemic.
How to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant
Use every screening method available such as rapid COVID test kits and RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests. Rapid antigen testing allows you to track your status every time you go out and RT-PCR tests can confirm your situation if you suspect to be a carrier.
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