Two travelers quarantined at a Hong Kong hotel. Researchers suspect the Omicron variant was transmitted through the hallway


The two did not leave their rooms during the quarantine, the items were not shared between the rooms and other people did not enter their rooms, according to the article, which was published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging infectious diseases. The individuals only opened their doors to bring in food that was placed right outside the hotel room door, the researchers said, citing an investigation and a review of surveillance footage. They may also have opened their doors to be tested for COVID-19 every three days, although scientists have noted that given they arrived a day apart, they are unlikely to were tested on the same day.

“Airborne transmission through the corridor is the most likely mode of transmission,” the scientists noted.

While the transmissibility of Omicron and whether it escapes the protection of existing vaccines is still largely unknown, “the detection of transmission of the Omicron variant between 2 fully vaccinated people through the hallway of a quarantine hotel has highlighted this potential concern, ”the researchers wrote.

The traveler from South Africa was asymptomatic and tested positive for the virus on November 13. He was hospitalized the next day. The traveler from Canada exhibited mild symptoms on November 17 and the next day tested positive and was hospitalized. None of the other 12 people staying in neighboring hotel rooms on the same floor of the hotel, nor any member of staff, tested positive for the virus.

Scientists are still studying the Omicron variant and working to determine the effectiveness of vaccines against it , whether it causes serious disease and how communicable it is.

During a White House briefing on COVID-19 on Tuesday, Dr Anthony Fauci said early findings showed Omicron may have less severe disease than the Delta variant.

“It is too early to be able to determine the precise severity of the disease, but the suspicions we have – and we must remember that they are still in the form of anecdotes, but I hope that in the next few weeks we will have a much clearer picture picture – but it seems that with the observed cases we don’t see a very serious disease profile, “Fauci said.” In fact, it could be, and I emphasize perhaps, be less severe.”

Data from South Africa also indicates that the Omicron variant may be more transmissible, Fauci added.

The variant has been detected in Massachusetts and 18 other states, Centers for Disease Control director Dr Rochelle Walensky said at the briefing, adding that experts predicted that number would increase.

Walensky added that while attention is focused on the new Omicron variant, Delta is still by far the dominant strain in the United States and around the world, according to the CDC’s data projection tool.

“It’s important to point out that while much of the news focuses on the new Omicron variant where we continue to learn more every day, I would like to reiterate that our updated Nowcast from the end of last week continues to demonstrate that over 99% of sequenced cases in the United States continue to be of the Delta variant, ”said Walensky.

Amanda Kaufman can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on twitter @ amandakauf1.


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