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Reproduction Number of the Omicron Variant Triples That of the Delta Variant

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Hong, Huaping 
Wang, Shuqi 
Ma, Lijia 
Liu, Caifen 


COVID-19 remains a persistent threat, especially with the predominant Omicron variant emerging in early 2022, presenting with high transmissibility, immune escape, and waning. There is a need to rapidly ramp up global vaccine coverage while enhancing public health and social measures. Timely and reliable estimation of the reproduction number throughout a pandemic is critical for assessing the impact of mitigation efforts and the potential need to adjust for control measures. We conducted a systematic review on the reproduction numbers of the Omicron variant and gave the pooled estimates. We identified six studies by searching PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Google Scholar for articles published between 1 January 2020 and 6 March 2022. We estimate that the effective reproduction number ranges from 2.43 to 5.11, with a pooled estimate of 4.20 (95% CI: 2.05, 6.35). The Omicron variant has an effective reproduction number which is triple (2.71 (95% CI: 1.86, 3.56)) that of the Delta variant.



COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, reproduction number, Omicron, systematic review, meta-analysis

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Collaborative Research Fund of the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong SAR Government. (C7123-20G)