Common sites of BA.2 and other Omicron subvariants are expanding

Earlier in the pandemic, contact tracking data showed us where COVID-19 was located predominantly spreading. Unfortunately, since our efforts to find contacts have slowed down, we don’t have such a clear picture of where people are most likely to get omicron and its subvariants.

What we do know is that although the virus has evolved to be much more transmissible than previous variants, time The spread of COVID-19 has not changed. “Nothing has changed in terms of how any individual currently, regardless of their daily activities, can pick up this virus,” Mark Cameroninfectious disease researcher at Case Western Reserve University, told HuffPost.

Therefore, we can assume that there are some hot spots for BA.2 and other omicron subvariants compared to others. Here are the usual places where COVID-19 is still spreading, experts say:

Packed with indoor events

So far we have all heard it a million times. COVID-19 is spreading in crowded, closed environments – consider: gyms, restaurants, concerts, bars and the like.

Cameron said that such events do not lack anecdotes about how the virus spreads. Mass epidemics have recently been reported after Phish’s four-night concertthe White House correspondent dinnerand the annual Washington Dinner at the Gridiron Clubas well as on cruises and after high school prom nights.

In crowded, poorly ventilated enclosures, virus-containing aerosols can spread through the air and are easily inhaled by many.

“Similar to other variants of COVID, BA.2 spreads more easily in crowded, enclosed areas with limited ventilation,” he said. Bernadette Boden-AlbalaDirector and Dean of the Founders of the Public Health Program at the University of California, Irvine.

Households

It is also known that COVID-19 spreads easily between family members – and roommates – who live together. Research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in February shows that COVID-19 now has a transmission rate in households of around 53%. Transmission is even more likely when members of the same household are not vaccinated along with those who do not wear a mask or insulation.

“The ability to transfer from one person to another in close quarters, it will still happen. Nothing has changed in terms of how we can catch this highly contagious airborne virus when we are in close proximity to someone else, ”Cameron said.

Boden-Albala said that the spread in households is especially pronounced in apartments and multi-family houses, which confirms that COVID-19 – and all its strains – can be a disease of difference.

Although the variants have changed, the way COVID is expanding remains largely the same.  (Photo: AzmanL via Getty Images)

Although the variants have changed, the way COVID is expanding remains largely the same. (Photo: AzmanL via Getty Images)

Although the variants have changed, the way COVID is expanding remains largely the same. (Photo: AzmanL via Getty Images)

Nursing homes and group housing

Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 has been shown to penetrate institutions for the elderly. While recent data from the CDC shows that boosters significantly help the residents of nursing homes to avoid difficult outcomes, nursing homes and other expensive housing are still prone to major epidemics.

Seventeen long-term care homes in Winnipeg, Canada, epidemics were reported last week. AND women’s prison in Vermont experienced an epidemic in late April, as did several of them long-term care facilities in the state.

“It simply came to our notice thenhotbeds of epidemics, ”Cameron said.

Close the contacts indoors

Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and demographer studying infectious diseases at the University of California, Irvine, said the main conclusion is that COVID-19 is spreading indoors. “Wherever you’re indoors, it’s spreading – anywhere and everywhere,” Noymer said.

Boden-Albala noted that BA.2 is spreading in places that are commonly suspicious: “establishments like bars and restaurants where participants can share food and drink or occasionally wear their masks – if at all.”

Whether you are having dinner with a friend, going to a relative’s house on a game night, taking a taxi, going to the office or going out to eat, if you are indoors, there is a risk that you could get COVID-19. Although aircraft are usually less risky because of their powerful air filtration systems, people can still become infected with COVID-19 in flight if they sit near someone who is infected. Despite the fact that masking is no longer required in aircraft, Noymer still recommends wearing the N95 mask in an aircraft.

The risk of exposure to COVID-19 may now be less than it was in January, when the country experienced a huge increase, but it is still significant as the latest variants are much more contagious.

“These new variants of omicron are convenient and easily transmitted,” Cameron said.

Experts are still learning about COVID-19. The information in this story is what has been known or available since publication, but guidelines may change as scientists discover more about the virus. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest recommendations.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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