A major study of the recent variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus called omicron indicates that the symptoms caused by this variant are very similar to those that are caused by a common cold. The symptoms include a runny nose, headache, sneezing, a sore throat as well as fatigue. These are different from those of earlier variants.
Epidemiologist and lead scientist of the ZOE symptom tracking study, Tim Spector of King’s College, London has asked Britons to look out for such symptoms before meeting friends and relatives for Christmas and the holidays.
He said that it was hoped that people would recognize symptoms similar to a cold that appear to be the predominant feature of the omicron variant. He added that omicron symptoms included a runny nose, headache, sore throat and sneezing and that people should “stay at home” if they exhibited such symptoms as it could be COVID.
Since the variant is still new, there are various ongoing studies. One study indicated that it multiplied 70 times faster than the delta variant. However, another study showed that its replication in the lungs is 10 times slower than the delta strain, which is a good sign.
Doctors in South Africa have been saying that the omicron variant is a milder variant. Real world data also showed that although the variant could affect the vaccinated, these persons exhibited only mild symptoms.
The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) recently released data that indicated that several COVID positive cases were mild and did not exhibit symptoms. These type of cases have increased after the mass rollout of vaccines.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty dismissed the early findings on Thursday and said that “serious caution” should be maintained before applying such findings in the current prevailing situation in Great Britain. He also said that it might be possible that hospitalization periods might be shorter and ICUs might see less patients.