Dr. Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser at the U.K. Health Security Agency, said Thursday that the omicron’s R-value — a number that determines how many people can be infected from another person — is somewhere between three and five, The Guardian reports.
- This means one person, on average, would infect three to five more people with the omicron variant.
However, Hopkins said there’s not enough data yet on the omicron variant to make a full determination of its spread. So far, case counts linked to the virus appear to be doubling every day.
That’s close to what we’ve seen in Canada. Per Global News, the province of Ontario has seen the omicron variant’s R-value climb to four times higher than the delta variant.
- “It’s safe to say that this is a very fast-moving variant that’s rapidly taking over and will be probably the dominant variant here in Ontario by the end of this week,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital, according to Global News.
Scientists are still racing to find out more about omicron and how fast it spreads. One new lab study suggested the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus could spread 70 times faster than the delta variant.
- In fact, omicron “multiplies 70 times faster than the Delta variant and original SARS-CoV-2 in the human bronchus, which may explain why Omicron may transmit faster between humans than previous variants,” researchers said.