The effectiveness of acquired COVID-19 immunity to protect against the mutant virus stood at only about 20 percent in South Africa.
Kyoto University researchers said the Omicron variant is highly transmissible even among vaccinated people or those who have already been infected with other strains of the virus.
At a meeting of an advisory panel to the health ministry on Wednesday, a group led by Professor Hiroshi Nishiura reported the results of their analysis on the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. The group examined genetic information of about 200 cases reported from September through the end of November based on an international database.
According to their results, the effective reproduction rate, which represents the average number of people that every person with the virus infects, is 4.2 times higher than that for the Delta variant in Gauteng Province in South Africa where has been hit hard by the Omicron variant. In addition, the rate is still as more than twice as high even after adjusting the data to account for bias.
The exact transmissibility of the Omicron variant itself remained unclear so far. However, Japanese scientists added that the effectiveness of acquired COVID-19 immunity to protect against the mutant virus stood at only about 20 percent in South Africa.
The Economist built a model that estimates the excess mortality of the pandemic, corrected for underreporting.— Edouard Mathieu (@redouad) December 9, 2021
They come to the conclusion that 18 million people have died globally.
We now show this data in our Explorer, along with uncertainty intervals: https://t.co/xhVmXMVO1i pic.twitter.com/Q0LTETjwGb
Professor Nishiura said the Omicron variant could pose a high risk even in countries with high vaccination rates, adding that he would wait for key information including the severity the variant causes and the effectiveness of vaccination.
As the Omicron spread continues, many Americans are unwilling to change their behaviors to reduce the risk from the new COVID-19 variant. The Axios-Ipsos survey showed that 33 percent of 1,021 respondents were willing to stop dining indoors at restaurants, while only 13 percent were willing to work remotely from home.
Less than 30 percent of the respondents were ready to give up gathering with other households, and just 23 percent said they might cancel holiday trips. In line with previous polls, Republicans were much less willing to change their personal behaviors than Democrats.