Most people with omicron variant didn’t know they had COVID-19, study finds: NPR

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The majority of people likely infected with the omicron variant of COVID-19 were unaware, according to a study from a medical center in Los Angeles, California.

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The majority of people likely infected with the omicron variant of COVID-19 were unaware, according to a study from a medical center in Los Angeles, California.

Al Bello/Getty Images

According to a study released this week.

Researchers from Cedars-Sinai, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit health organization, looked at the infection status of individuals during the omicron surge in the United States

Omicron was first detected in November 2021 and has become the most dominant strain of COVID-19. According to the researchers, common symptoms are generally less severe than the other variants and include cough, headache, fatigue, sore throat and runny nose.

What did the researchers find?

The study analyzed 2,479 blood samples from adult employees and patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at the time of the surge in the omicron variant.

Of the 210 people who likely contracted the omicron variant – based on antibodies in their blood – 56% did not know they had the virus, the researchers found.

They also found that only 10% of those who were unaware said they had symptoms related to a cold or another type of infection.

“We hope people will read these results and think, ‘I was just at a gathering where someone tested positive’ or ‘I just started to feel a little bad. Maybe I should do a quick test ” ” said Dr. Susan Chengone of the authors of the study.

“The better we understand our own risks, the better we’ll protect the health of the public as well as ourselves,” said Cheng, who directs the Healthy Aging Research Institute in the Department of Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai’s Smidt Heart. . Institute.

The results help us understand how omicron spreads

A lack of awareness could be a major factor in the rapid transmission of the virus between individuals, according to the study.

“The results of our study add to the evidence that undiagnosed infections can increase virus transmission,” said Dr. Sandy Y. Joung, the study’s first author who is a Cedars-Sinai researcher.

“A low level of infection awareness likely contributed to the rapid spread of Omicron,” Young said.

Although awareness among healthcare workers was slightly higher, the researchers said it remained low overall.

The researchers say more studies are needed, “involving larger numbers of people from diverse ethnicities and communities … to learn what specific factors are associated with a lack of awareness of the infection,” according to the press release.

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