/Epidemiologists say mask use should continue despite micron being “more benign”
Epidemiologists say mask use should continue despite micron being “more benign”

Epidemiologists say mask use should continue despite micron being “more benign”

Public health experts heard this Wednesday by the Government and political parties confirm that omicron is more transmissible, but less lethal than the previous variants. Epidemiologists consider, however, that individual protection measures and increased vaccination should be maintained.

“We expect a different pattern of this wave of omicrons, with a high incidence and prevalence , but a lower relative weight of the most serious infections”, said the epidemiologist of the National Health Institute Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) Ana Paula Rodrigues, at the Infarmed meeting on the evolution of covid-19 in Portugal.

According to the expert, this does not mean that the infection will become “mild”, because it remains “a serious infection”. It is, however, “more benign than what we had before”, he said, adding that the new variant leads to hospitalizations in “less than half” of the cases compared to the delta variant.

João Paulo Gomes, also from INSA, explains that this lower lethality but higher level of omicron transmission is due to “many mutations in the binding zone of cells in the human body”, which originate “greater affinity”, and to “greater replication rate than other upper airway variants”.

This means that the omicron multiplies “faster in the airways”, however it spreads “10 times slower in the lung”. “A less affected lung corresponds to a lower disease severity”, he argued.

Detected in South Africa at the end of November, the micron is, according to Ana Paula Rodrigues, more resistant to the vaccines that have been administered, but “after the vaccine boost, what can be seen is that there is an increase in the effectiveness” of vaccines against the variant, which “is already circulating in more than 90 countries”.

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