More than two-thirds of omicron cases are reinfections, study suggests


Members of the public queue for Covid-19 vaccinations and booster jabs at St Thomas’ Hospital on December 14, 2021 in London, England.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Omicron has almost completely replaced the previously dominant delta variant of Covid-19 in England, a new study has found, with the vast majority of cases being possible reinfections.

Imperial College London’s REACT study — which has been updated monthly since May 2020 and is funded by the U.K. government — analyzed 100,607 PCR test results from across England. Swabs were collected between Jan. 5 and Jan. 20.

The study found that 99% of sequenced positive swabs came from people infected with the omicron variant, with only 1% of infections being caused by the delta variant.

“We observed unprecedented levels of infection with SARS-CoV-2 in England in January 2022 and almost complete replacement of delta by omicron,” the study’s authors said in their paper released Wednesday.

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