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CDC finds high household transmission of COVID-19 omicron variant

The COVID-19 omicron variant set off a tidal wave of new infections in the U.S. that is still receding.

New research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and partners in Chicago, Milwaukee, Connecticut and Utah shows substantial household spread during the surge.

The paper finds omicron transmission occurred in more than two-thirds of 183 surveyed households that had a COVID-19-positive member.

Spread risk was roughly 20% to 30% higher when the COVID-19 patient was not vaccinated or boosted, or did not practice prevention measures such as isolation or mask wearing.

Risk held steady across age groups, including children 4 and younger, who are ineligible for vaccination but might contribute to transmission.

The findings underscore the need for multiple prevention strategies in households with infected members.

Nicholas Gerbis joined KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk in 2016. A longtime science, health and technology journalist and editor, his extensive background in related nonprofit and science communications inform his reporting on Earth and space sciences, neuroscience and behavioral health, and bioscience/biotechnology.Apart from travel and three years in Delaware spent earning his master’s degree in physical geography (climatology), Gerbis has spent most of his life in Arizona. He also holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Arizona State University’s Cronkite School and a bachelor’s degree in geography (climatology/meteorology), also from ASU.Gerbis briefly “retired in reverse” and moved from Arizona to Wisconsin, where he taught science history and science-fiction film courses at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is glad to be back in the Valley and enjoys contributing to KJZZ’s Untold Arizona series.During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gerbis focused almost solely on coronavirus-related stories and analysis. In addition to reporting on the course of the disease and related research, he delved into deeper questions, such as the impact of shutdowns on science and medicine, the roots of vaccine reluctance and the policies that exacerbated the virus’s impact, particularly on vulnerable populations.