Although the extremely transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 is ripping via the United States at report charges, some households have been affected erratically, with some people testing constructive for COVID-19 whereas others in the identical family don’t.
Coronavirus vaccines and boosters are very efficient at stopping extreme sickness, hospitalization and demise from COVID-19, however breakthrough infections can happen, often with milder signs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.” So at this level, if a family has a COVID-positive particular person, ought to the remainder of the family anticipate to get it no matter vaccination standing?
Not essentially, says Dr. Lucy McBride, a doctor in Washington, D.C., who can also be a Yahoo News medical contributor. She explains that people and the virus relate to at least one one other in other ways relying on numerous components.
Some responses have been edited for readability.
Yahoo News: Why do some people who’re in the identical family get COVID-19, and others don’t? Can it’s in comparison with the flu?
Dr. Lucy McBride: It might be helpful at this second of the pandemic to start out to consider evaluating the flu and coronavirus. Not that they’re equal in any respect, however you might need a case of flu in the household, in the family, and some people may get contaminated and others may not. Similarly, you’ll have a COVID case in your loved ones, and some people in the household may get COVID and some may not. And whether or not or not a single particular person will get contaminated and/or sick after an publicity in the family hinges instantly on the quantity of virus that’s put out by the COVID-positive particular person, and the situations in that house, and the immune system and vaccination standing of the one that is being uncovered.
You can have inhaled a small viral load from the contaminated particular person; you possibly can have inhaled a big viral load. In different phrases, you’ll have inhaled a distinct quantity of virus. You even have a singular response to the virus primarily based in your underlying well being situations, your immune system and the opposite components at play. For instance, if in the house you’re uncovered in a big room the place the home windows have been open, that is going to be maybe a distinct degree of publicity than somebody who’s sleeping in the identical room because the COVID-positive particular person. You might, for instance, have had three pictures and you are a younger, wholesome particular person, and it’s possible you’ll not get as sick because of this. We know that vaccinated people get usually much less sick than people who’re unvaccinated or have underlying well being situations.
So keep in mind that it is not automated that somebody will get contaminated in the family. Yet family transmission is the commonest downside. And the rationale we see widespread transmission of a very contagious variant [is] as a result of inside the identical home, people usually aren’t masked and they’re in close quarters.
When is an individual most contagious with the Omicron variant?
We’re seeing with Omicron — this extremely transmissible, although much less intrinsically extreme, variant of coronavirus — that people are capable of transmit the virus to different people from as quickly as a day after they’re contaminated to as much as 10 days after they’re contaminated. But the extra frequent window is between 24 hours previous to creating signs and 5 days after creating signs. But, after all, these ranges are variable relying on the particular person.
What is the testing timeline for those who’ve had a COVID-19 publicity?
I’m recommending to my sufferers [that] they comply with the CDC tips and isolate for 5 days and masks for day six to 10 and train warning throughout that point. I’m additionally recommending to my sufferers that if they’ll afford it and they’ll entry it, to take a fast antigen take a look at at day 5 in order to depart isolation. If that fast antigen take a look at is unfavourable on day 5, you are fairly certain you are not contagious to different people. If it is constructive, you’d take a look at once more on day six. And for those who’re unfavourable on day six, then you possibly can depart isolation. A unfavourable antigen take a look at tells you with fairly good confidence that you just’re not carrying contagious ranges of virus in your nostril.