Almost 56% of people infected with the omicron variant, which has been prevalent in recent COVID-19 waves, did not know they had contracted it, a recent Cedars-Sinai study found.
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“More than one in two people infected with Omicron didn’t know they had it,” Susan Cheng, director of the Healthy Aging Research Institute in the Department of Cardiology, said Wednesday in a statement from the Smidt Heart Institute in Cedars- Sinai and corresponding author of the study.
Previous studies had estimated that at least 25% and up to 80% of those infected may not show any symptoms of the virus.
Keep in mind that the Omicron variant is usually the one with the least severe symptoms, such as fatigue, cough, headache, sore throat, or runny nose.
“The results of our study add to the evidence that undiagnosed infection can increase transmission of the virus,” said Cedars Sinai researcher and study lead author Sandy Y. Joung. “Low infection awareness likely contributed to Omicron’s rapid spread.”
Researchers have relied on collecting samples from healthcare workers and patients for nearly two years.
“We hope people read these results and think, ‘I just went to a rally where someone tested positive,’ or ‘I just started feeling a little bad. Maybe I should do a quick test. “The better we understand our own risks, the better we can protect the health of the public and our own,” Cheng said.