New Delhi: ‘Omicron’, the new Covid variant ( ) first found in South Africa that World Health Organization (WHO) has labelled as ‘variant of concern’ does not have the same symptoms one would normally see in the Delta variant, according to Dr Angelique Coetzee, the chairperson of the South African Medical Association, who also alerted government scientists to the possibility of a new variant, told NDTV. Though Omicron strain has more mutations than any other variant seen in the past according to WHO, Dr Coetzee says that they have been seeing mild symptoms and no hospitalisation as such for this variant of concern.
Here are some of the other observations made in terms of symptoms of Omicron:
1. Dr Angelique Coetzee says that mild symptoms like fatigue and body ache have been reported in the patients infected with this strain. She added that this is not limited to any age group, young patients also show extreme tiredness.
She also said that Omicron has been detected in younger people, under the age of 30, but they are not severely ill. However, Dr Coetzee cautioned that this might change. She also said that people shouldn’t panic and see a doctor even if they suspect they have contracted Omicron. She further added that these symptoms get better on their own.
2. Dr Coetzee further explaining the symptoms said that there has been no complaints of stuffy noise and patients who contracted the new strain don’t even seem to have high temperatures. “However, patients of Omicron variant have, complained of scratchy throat,” she said.
3. Talking about the oxygen saturation levels, Dr Coetzee added that there has been no major drop in oxygen saturation levels.
4. Dr Coetzee also said that patients infected with Omicron strain have not reported loss of taste or smell, which are known symptoms in patients infected with other strains.
5. She also pointed that most patients of Omicron strain have recovered without hospitalisation.
Dr Angelique Coetzee On Transmissibility of Omicron Variant
Dr Coetzee added that she can say with some confidence that the new strain is at least just as transmissible as the Delta variant. She added,
We’re not disputing the transmissibility. It’s difficult for me to say it’s worse than Delta but it’s just as transmissible as the Delta variant at this stage.
Dr Angelique Coetzee On Vaccine Immunity & Omicron
Talking about vaccine immunity against the new strain, Dr Coetzee said that the world will know this within two weeks if the new strain is escaping vaccine immunity, whether it is causing reinfections, and how clinically bad it’s going to be.
Stressing on the need to rapidly vaccinate and follow Covid appropriate behaviour, she said that vaccines don’t guarantee protection from this strain of the virus. She added, “You need to vaccinate, you need to wear masks, and stay away from crowds. People don’t really listen to what we are saying, but they need to understand that there is no guarantees that if one has taken the vaccine, they will not get infected. Vaccines will protect you from dying, so that your condition doesn’t get severe,” she concluded.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.