REPORT: Omicron Spreads Twice As Fast As Delta Did

The New York Times reports:

Underscoring growing concerns about Omicron, scientists in South Africa said on Friday that the newest coronavirus variant appears to spread more than twice as quickly as Delta, until now the most contagious version of the virus. Omicron’s rapid spread results from a combination of contagiousness and an ability to dodge the body’s immune defenses, the researchers said, but the contribution of each factor is not yet certain.

“We’re not sure what that mixture is,” said Carl Pearson, a mathematical modeler at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who led the analysis. “It’s possible that it might even be less transmissible than Delta.” Some of the same researchers announced on Thursday that the new variant can partly dodge immunity gained from a previous infection. It’s still unclear whether or to what degree Omicron may evade protection conferred by the current vaccines.

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