The Omicron COVID-19 variant alarmed scientists when it was discovered as cases have been rising quickly around the world. The new variant looked different than its predecessors and shares similar symptoms, which would make it hard to distinguish without doing lab works. But now, scientists have discovered that Omicron variant infection has unique symptoms that are not usually reported on other variants.
Commonly Reported Symptoms of Omicron Infection
People who are infected with the Omicron variant have mixed symptoms that are similar to ordinary upper respiratory infection just like other variants of SARS-CoV-2. But they tend to resolve relatively quickly and usually do not require hospitalization.
According to NPR, these symptoms could include sore throat, nasal congestion, mild cough, fever (less common), runny nose, headache, fatigue, and sneezing. Studies have shown that the incubation period for the Omicron variant is about three days in contrast to the Delta variant, which has four days and the original variant has five days.
In terms of the loss of the senses of smell and taste, experts found that it is less common with Omicron infections, and fewer patients report shortness of breath, unlike other variants.
On the other hand, Daily Express reported that the King’s College London’s ZOE app identified two commonly reported symptoms, and Dr. Sanket Jain of Masina Hospital added one more symptom based on patients’ reports. These three symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
But experts say that Omicron, like its predecessors, cannot be classified as a cause to only a narrow group of symptoms as it is present in a myriad of ways.
Risk of Severe Infection From the Omicron Variant
According to a recently published study that looked at the cases of COVID-19 in the US during the late Delta and early Omicron waves there is a huge difference between the two variants in terms of the severity of the cases.
Study lead author and data scientist Rong Xu said that the difference is so huge that they need not do any complicated statistics. NPR reported that the team found that the risk of getting hospitalized is 15% in Delta compared to the 5% risk in Omicron infections. More so, there is a 50% decrease in the risk of being put on a ventilator with Omicron infections.
Researchers said that the decrease in risk with the Omicron variant is consistent with the cases in South Africa, where scientists first identified the variant, and in the United Kingdom.