Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus clearly more contagious

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In the original type of the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2, about every thousandth infected person was a so-called superspreader. In the omicron variant, it is even every twentieth to tenth.

This is indicated by a Swiss modeling study. According to this study, surgical masks are only rarely sufficient for protection. FFP2 masks, on the other hand, still provide sufficient protection, except in situations with high aerosol production such as singing or loud talking. Scientists led by aerosol expert Michael Riediker, director of the Swiss Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SCOEH), came to these conclusions in the journal “Swiss Medical Weekly.”

Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus clearly more contagious
Delta and Omicron are significantly more contagious than any previously encountered variants. This is due in part to the fact that infected individuals shed more virus and the viruses are more infectious, i.e., better able to hijack cells. In addition, the protective effect of vaccination is significantly reduced in omicron, resulting in increased vaccine breakthroughs. Based on the modeling results, the researchers report that an estimated half to two-thirds of the population infected with omicron excretes enough virus to infect others.

FFP2 masks still protect well against corona infection
The study also found that FFP2 respirators still provide adequate protection against infection in most situations, such as offices, public transportation and restaurants. That’s because when worn correctly, they remove at least 95 percent of inhaled aerosols. “However, if you spend extended periods of time in situations with extreme aerosol formation, even FFP2 respirators may not be sufficient,” the researchers warn.

Therefore, to cope with the recent wave of the Covid 19 pandemic, they recommend not only wearing well-fitting FFP2 masks indoors. They also point out that ventilation helps to reduce the concentration of the virus in the air and that situations involving loud singing and talking should be avoided.

  • source: vienna.at/picture:
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