Bay Area expert says quarter of Americans on Omicron may be asymptomatic – CBS San Francisco

SAN JOSE (KPIX) — On average, one in four Americans could be infected with COVID-19 and not know it, according to a Bay Area medical expert who said the prediction is based on the experience of the South Africa with the omicron thrust.

“It is estimated that there is a higher proportion of people who don’t even know they are infected with omicron compared to alpha and delta and some of the other variants,” said Dr Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at UCSF.

The examples of South Africa and the East Coast, which were hit by a massive surge of the omicron variant before California, were used to model predictions of the surge we are currently experiencing in the Golden State.

Dr Chin-Hong said the United States may have an even higher percentage of the population unknowingly infected with the virus compared to South Africa because Americans are more vaccinated and strengthened.

The reason? Immunizations have recently resulted in mild or no symptoms for many people, likely fueling the surge as people come together, untested or tested too late, Dr Chin-Hong said.

“We are programmed to watch someone or hear someone cough, walk away from them but, when they are not coughing or are asymptomatic, we can let our guard down,” Dr Chin-Hong said. “You can have symptoms so mild that they go away very quickly before you even think about getting tested.”

London Stiger, a cosmetology student at Concord and part-time nanny, just finished quarantine on Wednesday after she and her mother tested positive for COVID-19 around New Year’s Day.

She said she took all the precautions advised by the CDC, including getting vaccinated. Stiger said they even avoid family gatherings during the holidays.

“It was a surprise when we got him,” Stiger said.

The symptoms were mild, and because of that she said she now knew why some might consider it not serious.

“Felt like a sore throat, like a cold,” Stiger said. “When I started having my symptoms, I was telling my mum that I might be sick, that I might just have a cold.”

Dr Chin-Hong warns that people should assume everyone is infected even if they don’t look like it.

Stiger agrees that a significant percentage of people who should get sick won’t know it.

“You never know, especially for asymptomatic people,” Stiger said. “So I think everyone should be careful.”

There is, however, a positive prediction.

Dr. Chin-Hong said a drop in virus RNA was found in Santa Clara County wastewater on Thursday. The doctor said that means it could be a sign that there will be a drop in COVID-19 cases towards the end of January.

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