According to a new study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the US, most people infected with the Omicron variant don’t even realize they have COVID-19.
The public’s lack of awareness of being infected means that people cannot take steps to prevent themselves from spreading the virus further, which is a major obstacle to tackling new waves of the pandemic.
“More than one out of every two people is infected Omicron Susan Cheng, a corresponding author of the study published in JAMA Network Open.
Previous studies have estimated that at least 25% and potentially up to 80% of those infected Coronavirus It’s possible not to experience symptoms, researchers say.
Dr Cheng added: “This low level of infection awareness may have contributed to the rapid spread of Omicron.
Scientists at Cedars-Sinai conducted research on the effects of COVID-19 and vaccine effects for more than two years.
At the start of the study, they began collecting blood samples from healthcare workers, and then in the fall of 2021, they also began collecting samples from patients.
Of the 2,479 healthcare workers and patients who had blood samples taken around the time of the Omicron surgery, the researchers found 210 were infected with this variant based on the new positive antibody levels in their blood. surname.
The researchers then surveyed the study participants for updates on their health status, and in these surveys, only 44% of the participants with the antibodies were aware of being infected. infection.
Not only were the majority unaware of any infections, but only 10% reported any symptoms – and those who believed they were caused by a cold or other infection.
Dr Cheng said: “We hope people will read these findings and think, ‘I was just at a gathering where someone tested positive,’ or ‘I just started to feel a bit nauseous. I feel a bit uncomfortable, maybe I should go for a quick check-up’.
“The better we understand our own risks, the better we can protect the health of our communities as well as ourselves,” she added.