Wells: Omicron nearly 3 times more infectious than Delta, half as severe

Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 6:15 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - City of Lubbock Director of Public Health Katherine Wells says the Omicron variant is nearly three times more infectious than the previous Delta variant of COVID-19, but has about half the hospitalization rate.

“Delta, for the last couple months, has been our primary variant and that was very infectious,” Wells said. “The Omicron variant is even more infectious and is pushing that Delta out.”

Wells says sequencing has not confirmed the Omicron mutation is in Lubbock,

but she says she is already under the assumption that it is.

CDC data shows the Delta variant doubled new cases every 11 days, on average. New findings show Omicron will double cases every three to four days.

However, research published Thursday from London’s Imperial College shows the hospitalization rate is nearly half that of the Delta variant.

So, it’s nearly three times as infectious but only near half as severe.

We are still waiting to find out how effective the vaccines are against this mutation, but Director Wells says they are still the best defense we have against it.

“That booster is really pushing that protection up even higher; that protection is against both some transmission of disease, catching it, and also the severity of the disease if you were to come down with that variant.”

If you’re traveling for Christmas or New Year’s, Director Wells recommends getting tested before you leave, and when you get back, to make sure you are not carrying an infection with you.

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