Omicron now 2nd-most contagious disease in world
The Covid-19 Omicron variant is now the second-most contagious known disease in the world behind only measles, according to Ramathibodi Hospital’s Centre for Medical Genomics.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the centre said the rate at which a disease can be transmitted from one person to another can be calculated using the R-naught value, or R0.
Currently the virus for measles has the highest average R-naught value in the world at around 15-18, while the Omicron variant has a R0 value of 8-15, putting it in second place.
The centre explained that R-naught 8-15 means a patient with Omicron is likely to spread it to 8-15 other people who have never been exposed to it or been vaccinated against it.
The third most contagious disease in the world in mumps, with a R0 value of 10.
The Delta variant is in fourth place with a R0 value of 6.5-8, while the first Covid-19 variant – found in Wuhan, China – has a R-naught value of 2.5.
The Spanish flu in 1918 has a R0 value of only 2-3.
“However, Omicron’s R-naught 8-15 rating is an estimated value and is unlikely to find such an instance in Thailand, where around 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated, while some others have already been exposed to it by nature,” the medical centre wrote.
“This means the chance that Omicron will spread through the entire population of Thailand in a short time is very low.”
The centre urged everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they can, as this would greatly help reduce the chance of developing severe symptoms and hospitalisation. It will also reduce the spread of the virus and possibly any future mutation.
“The World Health Organisation has said it expects the Covid-19 pandemic to end in 2022, provided that every country in the world vaccinates at least 70 per cent of its population,” the centre pointed out.