An expert has warned that a new variant of Covid-19 is one of the most infectious diseases that has ever been seen in the world – and almost everyone is likely to catch it.
Professor Adam Esterman, a biostatistician and epidemiologist, has claimed that the new strain is up to six times more infectious than the original Covid-19 virus. Professor Esterman, who has formerly worked with the World Health Organization, made the claim after cases in England surged by 48% and have doubled in China, and tripled in parts of Australia. It is believed that the surge has been caused by the new BA.2 variant, NottinghamshireLive reports.
James Wood, a mathematician at the university of New South Wales who specializes in public health, said: “We think [the first] Omicron is very similar to Delta and that BA.2 is then another 25-30 per cent more contagious. “
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According to the Mail, even people who have been triple vaccinated are at risk of catching the new strain. They say BA.2’s R number – the rate at which it can spread – is 12, compared to 2.5 for the original virus. Prof Esterman said this level of infectiousness makes the new strain ‘pretty close to measles, the most contagious disease we know about’.
Prof Esterman says BA.2 appears to cause less severe disease than previous strains. But he said all strains of Covid are dangerous.
He said: “The trouble is it causes more severe disease in vulnerable people than influenza, and it has the capacity to cause real damage to younger people too. There have been several cases of young, healthy and fit people dying from Covid. I cannot remember that ever happening with influenza. “
He added: “Covid-19 can attack every part of the body, from clotting to the heart and brain. There have even been cases of young children with multi-system inflammatory condition.”
Prof Esterman said: “It is true that pandemics become less infectious over time, but that happens over 100 years, not one year.”
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