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When to take a COVID-19 test if you’re worried about omicron, according to experts

The omicron variant might update how soon you should take a COVID-19 test before an event

Microbioligist Ann Gariety sequences COVID-19 samples for variants at the Utah Public Health Laboratory in Taylorsville.
Microbiologist Ann Gariety sequences COVID-19 samples for variants at the Utah Public Health Laboratory in Taylorsville on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The omicron variant of the coronavirus has changed the game when it comes to getting a rapid COVID-19 test before an event.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The omicron variant of the coronavirus has changed the game when it comes to getting a rapid COVID-19 test before an event.

Experts recently advised people to take a rapid COVID-19 test hours before an event or party — not days before like they’re encouraged to do now, according to Yahoo! News.

  • This is because the omicron variant is more infectious than the delta variant, meaning someone could catch the virus quicker than the previous variants.

Michael Mina, former assistant professor in immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard School of Public Health, said testing days before a specific event is not helpful.

  • “It doesn’t matter the type of test, the most important thing is to test just before the event of participation,” he said.

Tim Spector, professor in genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, told The Guardian that people should get a rapid COVID-19 test “a few hours before leaving the house.”

  • “Certainly, compared to the Delta variant, we’re seeing more of these multiple infection events,” Spector told The Guardian. “Delta didn’t seem to affect everyone at an event — just one out of six vaccinated people might get ill then.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that fully vaccinated people get a COVID-19 test five to seven days after close contact with a person who is suspected of getting infected with COVID-19.