COVID-19 Has a Shorter Incubation Period Now – Here’s Why this Is Bad News!

COVID-19 Has a Shorter Incubation Period Now – Here’s Why this Is Bad News!

According to new reports, the amount of time between exposure to certain COVID-19 variants and when the symptoms start appearing is getting shorter!
This is quite different from early on in the pandemic when you’d have to wait many days to finally learn whether you’d been infected or not.
One study shared in the JAMA Network Open journal shows that this window of time is getting smaller.
The team of Beijing researchers looked into no fewer than 141 studies in order to determine how the virus’ incubation period has changed since it first took over the world in March of 2020.
What they learned was that regardless of variant, the incubation period has decreased significantly and that Omicron, which is the dominant variant at the moment, is also the one that will start causing symptoms the quickest.
The study mentions that “The incubation periods of COVID-19 caused by the Alpha, the Beta, Delta and the Omicron variants were 5.00, 4.50, 4.41, and 3.42 days, respectively.”
It is vital to note that all of the studies used in this massive review mostly relied on participants recalling their own date of infection and date when symptoms appeared, respectively, which is why there is some room for error since it depends on humans recalling details correctly.
However, two experts shared via HuffPost that they have noticed the incubation period is getting shorter in their own work as well so they think the findings are accurate.
Unfortunately, this just means the virus can spread faster and easier.
University of California’s campus public health response team director, David Souleles, explained that becoming symptomatic faster means more of the virus is circulating in your system which makes you more likely to infect others.
He explained that “Symptoms, so coughing and sneezing, accelerate the ability of the virus to move from person to person.”
Professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Gregory Poland, also mentioned that COVID-19 is hyper contagious now, having “developed the capacity to infect the upper airway more than the lower airway. If [Omicron] had shown up [first] and not the original strain [in 2020], we would not be talking about 1 out of 308 American citizens being dead, we’d probably be talking about 1 out of 200.”

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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