The current wave of coronavirus omicron variants spreads throughout the United States — dominated by subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 — Raising new concerns about the seemingly endless Covid infection cycle.
There is still uncertainty about different versions of the Omicron variant, but experts say about it and how it affects people who have been vaccinated or unvaccinated, or who have previously experienced cases of Covid. I have a clearer understanding of what to do.
What are the symptoms of Omicron?
At least for most people The latest information on their Covid vaccinationThe original type of Omicron variant caused a mild illness that resembled a cold, another form of coronavirus.
Anecdotally, according to doctors, the symptoms of the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are almost the same as those of the previous version of the variant.
“As far as we know, BA.5 has proven to be not much different from previous Omicron waves,” said Dr. Bernard Camins, an infection prevention physician at Mount Sinai Health System in New York. .. “We know it is more contagious.”
Dr. Roy Gulick, head of infection for Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, said typical symptoms of the Omicron subvariant include:
I have a runny nose
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With Original version of Omicron variantLast winter, it swept the United States at a dizzying speed. Loss of taste and smell It wasn’t as common as the previous alpha and delta variants. However, with the spread of BA.4 and BA.5, some doctors have pointed out that the symptoms seem to have recurred.
Omicron variants may have appeared mild during the winter Covid wave, but it reflects the sick group, the young and healthy group, and the fully vaccinated group. There is a possibility.
“It’s clear if you’re vaccinated, especially if you’re vaccinated. There was a booster“Omicrons tend to cause mild infections,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, this year.
For those who have been vaccinated but not boosterDr. Craig Spencer, Global Health Director of Emergency Medicine at the NewYork-Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center, states that typical symptoms are more coughing, fever, and malaise than those receiving additional doses.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people over the age of 50 need to get it Second Covid booster A shot to prevent the immune system from being weakened by the vaccine.
BA.5 is highly contagious and appears to dodge the body’s immune system, making people more vulnerable Reinfection by CovidEspecially if it has been 90 days or more Since my previous illness.
“Previous infections no longer guarantee protection,” said Cummins of Mount Sinai.
According to experts, reinfection may be less severe than previous infections due to the high immunity in most cases.
Does Omicron cause less serious illnesses?
There is evidence that Omicron variants do not tend to dive deeper into the lungs than previous variants. A study posted online by the University of Hong Kong and not yet peer-reviewed found that the Omicron variant is less severe in the lungs, but can replicate faster at higher positions in the airways.
As such, it may behave more like bronchitis than pneumonia, said Dr. Hucasiere, director of critical care services at Sandra Atlas Bathhart Hospital at North Shore University Hospital in Long Island, New York. ..
“Usually, patients with acute bronchitis tend not to be short of breath. They tend to cough and sputum,” he said. “Patients with pneumonia are generally more short of breath and more prone to fatigue than bronchitis.”
In a small study from the CDC, Will be re-infected with Covid later With the Omicron variant, symptoms may be less than at the time of the first attack with the virus.
Still, it is virtually impossible for people to rely on their symptoms to self-diagnose their illness. Your doctor will encourage people with cold or flu-like symptoms to be tested.
How soon do Omicron’s symptoms appear?
After exposure, infected individuals take less time to develop symptoms in Omicron variants than in previous variants, within 1 week to 3 days. CDC..
More research is needed, but it makes scientific sense that highly contagious viruses, such as the Omicron mutant, have a short incubation period. After all, the goal is to infect as many people as possible as soon as possible.
Dr. Anita Gupta, anesthesiologist and emergency physician at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, said: She added that the incubation period can be shorter or longer, depending on many variables, such as age, underlying health problems, and vaccination status. “There are no strict rules here.”
Dr. Rahul Sharma, Chief Emergency Doctor of NewYork-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medicine, said:
How long do Omicron’s symptoms last?
Sharma said that in general, the symptoms with vaccination appear to be shorter and milder than with unvaccinated.
If vaccinated, the emergency room or length of stay is also usually shorter for the Omicron variant.
“What I can say is that unvaccinated patients are definitely patients with our illness,” Sharma said. “These are the patients who are likely to go to the ICU. These are the patients who are likely to be admitted to the hospital.”
Dr. Ryan Maves, an infectious and critical care physician at Wake Forest Medical School in North Carolina, said the overwhelming majority of Covid patients found in intensive care units were not vaccinated.
When should I be tested for Covid?
Given the potential for shorter incubation periods, Vanderbild’s Schaffner advised that anyone who has come into contact with an infected person should be tested approximately 72 hours after exposure.
“If you’ve been exposed and now you’re asking yourself,’When should I be tested?’ It’s best to wait at least three days to see if you’re positive. I think it is. “
If you know that you are in contact with someone using Covid, the CDC recommends that:Be tested at least 5 days after exposure.. “
Can Omicron lead to a long Covid?
There are many unclear points about Omicron variants, but some experts say that even mild cases can lead to long Covids.In a recent study, British researchers discovered that: Omicron variants are less likely to cause long Covid symptoms Rather than Delta, all 41,361 adult participants who regularly reported Covid’s symptoms on the phone app were vaccinated.
Patients with long-term symptoms may experience fatigue, arrhythmias, and other problems months after the initial Covid infection.It happened during the first wave of the pandemic, and it continued to lead to a long Covid problem through it. Delta wave..
Previous studies suggest that Vaccination can significantly reduce the risk For long Covid.
How much do you need to worry about Omicron?
BA.5 Omicron subvariant described Almost 54% of Covid cases in the country As of July 2, according to the CDC. BA.4 accounts for 17% of sampled cases.
The BA.5 subvariant is much more contagious, so people probably need to “re-engage with some of the previously recommended preventive strategies,” Gulick said. “Therefore, it makes sense to wear a mask indoors or in a crowded area.”
There is no data yet to suggest that BA.5 or other known Omicron submutants are “more aggressive viruses than others,” Gulick said.
He said people really need to be vaccinated and boosted because they are easier to catch than other viruses.
“That’s the best protection we have.”
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