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What is the new super contagious variant of Omicron and what to do to avoid contracting it?

The growing increase in the number of infections by variants of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are causing a wave of coronavirus cases in Peru, and generating growing concern from health authorities, who have already demanded a return to the use of masks in open spaces.

These two variants would be responsible for the majority of new infections throughout the country, which, added to the intense winter in the regions, has started a fourth wave.

The concern about these strains becomes greater, since, in addition to being extremely contagious, they are also capable of reinfecting those who have had an infection of Omicron.

Recently, the Dr Robert Wachterchairman of the UC San Francisco Department of Medicine, he pointed that “It will be up to each of us to determine our own tolerance for risk and then our own behavior (about wearing masks outdoors).”

“(BA.5) is the worst version of the virus we have seen,” warned Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California.

“BA.5, together with BA.4, are producing an increase in cases in practically all European countries, as is the case in Israel, which have a high vaccination rate,” alert.

“We must put a parenthesis in this aspect, because with the change in the detection strategy we are surely detecting many fewer cases than what actually occurs, in relation to the moments in which the pandemic worsened in Argentina; and this happens all over the world because it was a change in global strategy”added the expert in Molecular Biology.

By way of advice, Wachter suggests the permanent use of masks both indoors and outdoors. “There is a risk of meetings in interior (spaces) without a mask”he points out.

“If 1 in 16 people who feel fine actually have Covid, they spend enough time without a mask indoors and they will almost certainly get it. (If 6.5% of an asymptomatic population has covid, in a crowd of 50 people, there is a 96% chance that someone will test positive)”he added.

Wachter points out that reinforcements are still very valuable in preventing a serious case that could lead to hospitalization or death; however, he indicated that the first reinforcement against the COVID-19 offers relatively little protection against infection.

“In fact, the second booster doesn’t protect you very much against infection either: its protective effect against infection seems to wane in about 2 months.”detailed the doctor.

Currently, he indicated Pfizer and Moderna They have been developing a reinforcement aimed at BA.4 and BA.5, since the one that was created for the original variant of Omicron it will have limited utility compared to BA.5.

As advice, the doctor indicated that it is necessary to avoid contracting COVID-19 anyway. For example, he noted avoiding indoor lunch gatherings and always wearing N95 masks.

“To hold indoor gatherings safely, you really need good masking (and no indoor eating) and ventilation; adding rapid pre-event tests offers more protection.

Source: Elcomercio

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