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Why we shouldn’t write off Omicron cases as ‘mild’

World

Why we shouldn’t write off Omicron cases as ‘mild’

While SA may have some immunity after three Covid waves, more data are needed to assess new variant’s severity

Jason Gale

Reports of mostly mild illness from Covid-19 infections caused by Omicron need to be interpreted with caution because they may not reflect the new variant’s severity across a broad range of people. 

Fatigue, head and body aches and occasional sore throats and coughs are among the typical symptoms experienced by Omicron patients, according to Angelique Coetzee, the doctor in SA whose observations helped scientists identify the worrisome strain. The manifestations contrast with the rapid heartbeat, low blood-oxygen levels and a loss of smell and taste often seen in Covid patients sickened by the Delta variant, she said.

While such anecdotes are encouraging, they may represent only a subset of cases and a fraction of the risk that could emerge if it spreads widely across the globe. Studies of disease patterns are needed to gauge Omicron’s virulence across diverse patient groups, public health experts said. ..

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