Has Omicron Changed the Evolution of the Pandemic?   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Abstract: "Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2] virus carry differential risks to public health. The Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant, first identified in Botswana on November 11, 2021, has spread globally faster than any previous variant of concern. Understanding the transmissibility of Omicron is vital in the development of public health policy. [...] The aim of this study is to compare SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks driven by Omicron to those driven by prior variants of concern in terms of both the speed and magnitude of an outbreak. [...] The observed Omicron outbreaks in this study reach the outbreak threshold within 5-10 days after first detection, whereas other variants of concern have taken at least 14 days and up to as many as 35 days. The Omicron outbreaks also reach peak rates of new cases that are roughly 1.5-2 times those of prior variants of concern. Dynamic panel regression estimates confirm Omicron has created a statistically significant shift in viral spread. [...] The transmissibility of Omicron is markedly higher than prior variants of concern. At the population level, the Omicron outbreaks occurred more quickly and with larger magnitude, despite substantial increases in vaccinations and prior infections, which should have otherwise reduced susceptibility to new infections. Unless public health policies are substantially altered, Omicron outbreaks in other countries are likely to occur with little warning."

Alexander L Lundberg, Ramon Lorenzo-Redondo, Egon A Ozer, Claudia A Hawkins, Judd F Hultquist, Sarah B Welch, PV Vara Prasad, James F Oehmke, Chad J Achenbach, Robert L Murphy, Janine I White, Robert J Havey, Lori Ann Post. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/].
Retrieved From:
JMIR Public Health and Surveillance: https://publichealth.jmir.org/
Media Type:
JMIR Public Health Surveillance (2022), v.8 no.1
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