Symptoms of COVID-19 can be fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, nasal congestion, muscle aches, headache, diarrhea or vomiting. The coronavirus may also infect a person if they suddenly lose their taste or smell. With the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and its spread in 149 countries, the epidemic has entered a new phase with the massive increase in cases of people infected with COVID-19. If someone has COVID-19 today, how do you know if they have acquired the Omicron variant?
During an omicron increase, many people have reported symptoms similar to those of the common cold. But this does not mean that the spread of COVID-19 should be underestimated. In some cases, worrisome symptoms, such as lower back pain, developed.
According to Dr Tim Spector, a genetic epidemiologist who founded the health company that uses the UK app ZOE Covid that tracks more than 4.7 million people, there have been some changes in the frequency of symptoms with the onset of the disease.
Based on their observation, they found that the five most common symptoms associated with Omicron were runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, and sore throat.
“Traditional symptoms of fever, cough, and loss of smell were slightly less frequent with the delta variant than with alpha, and cold-like symptoms became more common. Micron actually increased this rather subtle change,” Spector noted.
Meanwhile, a small study from Norway found that among people in a range of conditions, cough was the most common symptom associated with the new variant, followed by runny nose and fatigue. As in the case of ZOE, the Norwegian researchers also noted a significant reduction in the loss of smell and taste.
When a person does a PCR test or other tests, including self-tests at home, they can tell if they have or have had an infection. But the results do not indicate which variant affected the person with COVID-19.
To find out what type of coronavirus has infected a person, it is necessary to sequence the complete genomic material of the virus from the sample that tested positive. They are expensive and laborious methods that take time. Today it is only used in epidemiological terms by sampling COVID-19 cases. Graciela Torales, an infectious disease physician and patient care coordinator at Posadas National Hospital, explained to Infobae that it is a procedure that is being carried out by health authorities in every country.
In many countries, after the start of the epidemic, genetic surveillance of the coronavirus was organized to study samples of patients infected with COVID-19 and identify the variants that circulated.
In Argentina, the ANLIS / Mabrán Institute of the National Ministry of Health, the Proyecto País Initiative of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and institutions in some provinces such as Córdoba and San Luis are conducting this type of study to monitor the variables that are circulating in the country.
“Knowing which variant is circulating has health significance for each country. Because there is high societal circulation in different countries, such as Argentina, a person with COVID-19 may suspect it is a micron. If you have symptoms, you should self-isolate,” Dr. Torrales said. So that you don’t pass the virus on to other people.”
Currently, there are many cases of people infected with COVID-19. But thanks to the high vaccination rate, the hospital system is not overwhelmed when it comes to using critical beds to treat infected patients. The patients in the hospital today are mostly people who have not been fully vaccinated. Instead, a large portion of those vaccinated have only mild cases.”
People with Omicron may experience a few different symptoms, but this topic is still under investigation. Because the new variant has multiple genetic changes compared to the previous ones.
Early data indicate that Omicron accumulates mainly in the upper respiratory tract, rather than entering the lungs. This could help explain both its deadly lower force and possibly why it often causes upper respiratory symptoms such as a runny nose and sore throat. But the alternative is still new and research continues.
The curve of reported COVID-19 deaths has grown in absolute numbers but not as much as the country’s confirmed cases. This is due to the high vaccination rate in the country because the micron variant affects less lung tissue and there are fewer lung infections and a lower mortality rate,” Alejandro Videla, president of the Argentine Society of Respiratory Medicine, told Infobae. And the Sleep Medicine Service at Universitario Hospital Austral.
Data from early Omicron outbreaks, including South Africa, the United Kingdom, and New York City, indicate that the variant causes milder disease than others. A British report released in late December 2021 found that, compared to people with the delta variant, people with an Omicron-related infection were half more likely to go to the emergency department or need hospitalization.
However, even a mild case of COVID-19 can make a person feel completely unwell and may lead to long-term complications such as Long COVID or Post Covid. It’s also not entirely clear if Omicron itself is milder than other versions of COVID-19, or whether population-wide immunity from vaccines and previous exposures mitigates some of its worst outcomes.