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Two-thirds of individuals with omicron say they’ve had Covid earlier than


Folks cross London Bridge through the morning rush hour in London, Britain on Jan. 24, 2022.

Tim Eire | Xinhua Information Company | Getty Pictures

Omicron has virtually utterly changed the beforehand dominant delta variant of Covid-19 in England, a brand new examine has discovered, with the overwhelming majority of circumstances being attainable reinfections.

Imperial School London’s React examine — which has been up to date month-to-month since Could 2020 and is funded by the U.Ok. authorities — analyzed 100,607 PCR check outcomes from throughout England. Swabs had been collected between Jan. 5 and Jan. 20.

The examine discovered that 99% of sequenced constructive swabs got here from individuals contaminated with the omicron variant, with only one% of infections being brought on by the delta variant.

“We noticed unprecedented ranges of an infection with SARS-CoV-2 in England in January 2022 and virtually full substitute of delta by omicron,” the examine’s authors stated of their paper launched Wednesday.

Reinfection functionality

Two-thirds of the three,582 individuals who examined constructive in January reported they’d already examined constructive for Covid previously. An additional 7.5% of contaminated individuals stated they suspected they’d beforehand had the virus, however had not had this confirmed with a check.

In an replace on Thursday, Imperial researchers cautioned that it was unsure what quantity of the outcomes are reinfections, or simply current infections picked up once more as a result of sensitivity of PCR testing.

When earlier variants of Covid had been circulating amongst populations, it was thought {that a} prior an infection, through which individuals had caught the virus and recovered, could offer some protection from reinfection. However there’s concern that this isn’t the case with omicron, with U.Ok. well being officers estimating in December that the danger of reinfection with omicron is 5.4 instances higher than it’s with the delta variant.

Researchers famous Wednesday that omicron’s infectiousness had now led to the best Covid prevalence ever noticed within the React examine.

“Vaccination (together with the booster marketing campaign) stays the mainstay of the protection in opposition to [Covid-19] given the excessive ranges of safety in opposition to hospitalizations,” the analysis staff stated.

“Nevertheless, additional measures past vaccination could also be required if the very excessive charges of omicron an infection persist, regardless of omicron showing to be intrinsically much less more likely to trigger extreme illness.”

Omicron is a closely mutated, extremely infectious variant of Covid that has been recognized by well being authorities in not less than 171 nations, and which has led to document numbers of circumstances in lots of nations.

On Monday, World Well being Group Director-Normal Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the organization’s executive board that because the variant was recognized 9 weeks in the past, greater than 80 million Covid circumstances had been reported to the WHO — greater than had been reported in the entire of 2020. Final week, a median of 100 circumstances had been reported each three seconds, Tedros stated, and somebody misplaced their life to the virus each 12 seconds.

The most recent React examine discovered that though coronavirus infections declined in England in early January, they then “plateaued at a excessive degree,” with 1 in 23 individuals contaminated.

Of the exams taken within the examine’s newest spherical, 4.4% had been constructive, marking a threefold improve from December.

On Tuesday, the U.Ok. provisionally recorded 94,326 new Covid circumstances and 439 deaths inside 28 days of a constructive check outcome. In late December, Covid infections peaked within the nation when it recorded 246,415 constructive check leads to at some point.

England is about to scrap most of its few remaining Covid measures on Thursday, when mask-wearing will now not be mandated and the general public will now not be suggested to work at home. Virtually 85% of the nation’s eligible inhabitants — these over the age of 12 — is absolutely vaccinated in opposition to Covid, whereas 64% have acquired a booster shot.

BA.2 ‘variant underneath investigation’

Clarification: The headline and textual content of this story has been up to date after Imperial School amended the pre-print of the examine.



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