Health experts worldwide are racing to determine the severity and transmissibility of new virus variant. The percentage of people in New York City testing positive for COVID-19 doubled in three days this week. A new British study released Thursday suggested the omicron variant could cause symptoms that might be mistaken for the common cold. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the omicron variant has now been reported in at least 36 states and 75 countries.The omicron variant multiplies 70 times faster in the human bronchial tubes than the initial COVID-19 infection or the delta variant, according to a new study from the University of Hong Kong. Their study also showed the omicron infection in the lung is significantly lower than the original SARS-CoV-2. But a very infectious virus may cause more severe disease and death even though the virus itself may be less dangerous, said Dr. Michael Chan Chi-wai, the study’s principal investigator. A structural model of how the Omicron variant attaches to cells and antibodies sheds light on its behavior and will help in designing neutralizing antibodies, according to researchers. The omicron variant of the coronavirus is moving faster than surveillance systems can track it. Four in 10 infected people may unknowingly spread virus.
The pooled percentage of asymptomatic infections was about 46% in North America, 44% in Europe and 28% in Asia. Omicron is expected to become the dominant coronavirus variant in the European Union by mid-January, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday. The U.K., as an example, reported a record number of new daily Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, with 78,610 in the last 24 hours.Researchers are learning that the coronavirus can infect neurons and may cause lasting damage in some cases. Months after many people are still struggling with memory problems, mental fog and mood changes.