By Tamsin Brown • 03 January 2022 • 11:30
CREDIT: Martin Sanchez/ Unsplash
According to an infectious diseases expert, omicron has now become the most contagious virus ever recorded, even more so than the highly contagious measles.
Omicron has become the most contagious virus ever recorded, according to the infectious diseases expert from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Roby Bhattacharyya, who warned that it “spreads incredibly quickly”.
This variant of COVID-19 has led to an explosion of new cases. Just one month after it was first detected, it has become the most dominant variant around the world. In fact, in many countries, it has resulted in the highest numbers of infections from the whole pandemic.
Bhattacharyya compared omicron to measles, another highly infectious disease. A patient with measles infects an average of 15 unvaccinated people, whereas one with omicron infects 6 more.
The expert warned that the key is in the generation time, the time that passes from when the first person becomes infectious to when the people infected by them also become infectious. With measles, it is a period of around 12 days, whereas with omicron, it is only four or five days. This means that a case of measles would lead to around 15 cases after 12 days, whereas omicron would lead to another six after four days, 36 after eight days and 216 after 12 days.
However, with the high vaccination rate and the number of people who have already recovered from the virus, these possibilities are reduced. This means that each individual infected with omicron infects only three others, according to Bhattacharyya.
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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