In collaboration with La Torrada Fresca
Data on the Omicron variant of COVID-19 suggest that people become infected sooner.
Since the pandemic began, one of the most important questions scientists have tried to determine is when infected people become infected with COVID-19. Although all variants work the same way, there are small differences.
In the case of Omicron, a variant that is highly contagious, scientists have been collecting evidence in recent months to give an answer, suggesting that people become infected earlier than in previous variants.
“As we’ve seen these new variants (delta, now omicron) develop, what we’re seeing is that everything is accelerating from a COVID perspective.” Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, told NBC. “It’s taking less time for someone to be exposed to COVID to potentially develop an infection. It’s taking less time to develop symptoms, it’s taking less time for someone to get infected, and for many people, it’s taking less time to develop. “A lot of that is because a lot more people are vaccinated.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people infected with COVID-19 become infected days before and after their symptoms appear. In the case of Omicron, AP News that this happens sooner because of the variant that causes symptoms earlier than previous versions of the virus. This could also be one of the reasons why the variant is so contagious.
The data suggest that Omicron causes symptoms three days after infection. This could mean that people could be infected as early as a day after being infected with the virus. In earlier variants of COVID-19, people became infected two or four days after being first infected.
Once people are contagious, their tests are more likely to come back positive, presenting the possibility of detecting infections sooner.
Dr. Amy Karger, of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, spoke to AP News and suggested that people be taken on days three and five after the exposure. “A lot of people get positive on the third day. Basically, here’s a chance to catch people sooner than you would with the other variants.”
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should be tested as soon as possible. If you think you were exposed, days three and five after exposure are a good time to get tested, as they give you a chance to catch the virus as soon as possible and prevent it from spreading.
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