• CHPR News

    January 2022

Several experts at UC Davis Health recently answered pressing questions many people have about the Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19, the variant currently sweeping across our region. Lorena Garcia, Ph.D., M.P.H., and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), was among them.

Garcia noted that the symptoms of Omicron are similar to those associated with other variants—although some evidence suggests that fewer people experience loss of taste and smell—but are, in most cases, more severe in unvaccinated individuals than in those that have been both vaccinated and boosted.

A big difference with Omicron, however, is how very infectious it is. As Garcia pointed out, the “viral load is much higher in Omicron, which means that someone infected with the Omicron variant is more infectious than someone infected with the Delta variant. Older adults and those with compromised immune systems should take special care.”

That means that wearing masks is more critical than ever. “But remember,” Garcia reminds us, “it’s important to cover both the mouth and nose, as COVID-19 can be found in the nose, mouth and throat.”

For more information, see “Omicron: 10 things to know about the very contagious COVID-19 variant” in the UC Davis Health Newsroom.