The symptoms of the Omicron variant of Covid have been described as ‘extremely mild’ by doctors in South Africa where this variant was first detected. The symptoms were mild enough that no hospitalizations were required. The initial presenting symptoms in South Africa were an itchy throat, fatigue, headache and body aches. There were no complaints of cough or loss of taste or smell. Multiple patients began presenting with similar symptoms after which the vaccine advisory committee was notified. This gave an indication on the transmissibility of the strain.
More research is being done on this strain of the virus. Initial observations suggest that reinfection is common. Studies are being done to investigate the affects that this would have on diagnostics and vaccine coverage. The WHO has declared the strain a concern due to high rate of reinfection.
Many different countries have suspended travel to South Africa to avoid spread of the variant however South African authorities deemed the move unnecessary and raised the possibility of the strain already present in multiple countries. The variant has already been detected in the U.K, France, Israel, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong. The U.S has not reported any cases yet.
We encourage everyone to be up to date on vaccinations, avoid gatherings, keep your distance and wear a mask. Let us play our part in stopping the spread.