With the year 2021 drawn to a close, a new COVID-19 variant has emerged, posing a threat to the return to the status quo. The B.1.1.529 variety, also known as the Omicron variant, is now being examined by researchers, healthcare professionals, and government authorities.
When we talk about COVID-19 variants, “omicron” stands out without a doubt. The very mention of its name evokes thoughts of doom.
Let’s have a look at the top 10 concerns with respect to the Omicron Wave.
10. What Exactly Is Omicron?
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Based on existing findings and observations that it has several modifications that might impact how it operates, the WHO has identified Omicron, the COVID-19 mutation, as a strain or variant of significant concern.
Scientists are only now learning about omicron because of its recent development, but the vigorous study is swiftly revealing more information about this variation and how its genetic modifications may impact its propagation and the people who are infected with it.
9. Is There A Difference In Symptoms With Omicron?
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There is no evidence that Omicron induces COVID-19 symptoms that are distinct from those caused by other COVID-19 variations.
8. What Is Omicron’s Level Of Severity?
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Mild to severe headaches, scratchy throats, bodily pains, and a persistent feeling of exhaustion have been reported by the majority of individuals in the afflicted areas.
It is crucial to emphasize, however, that it is too early to make any judgments about the appearance or severity of this variety. There have also been reports of instances with severe symptoms and deadly outcomes.
7. Is Omicron More Acute?
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Findings and observations show that the Omicron variant is less harmful than Delta, however further studies are required, and the WHO recommends that it not be ignored or dismissed as “mild.”
It’s crucial to remember that all variants, like the Delta type, which is currently circulating across the world, can cause sickness or death, and that is why restricting the virus’s spread and decreasing your chance of infection with COVID-19 is critical.
6. Is This Variant More Infectious Than Other Covid-19 Variants?
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The Omicron variant is disseminating at a more rapid rate and count than the others. However, it is less severe than the Delta form, according to two experiments based on real-world COVID-19 cases, with fewer infected individuals requiring hospitalization.
As opposed to the Delta variation, persons with PCR-confirmed Omicron are 40 to 45 percent less likely to stay overnight or longer in hospital, according to Imperial College London research.
When compared to individuals who have never had an infection, those who have Omicron after a previous illness are 50 to 60% less likely to be hospitalized. Unvaccinated people, on the other hand, have a greater chance of hospitalization, according to the study.
5. What Is The Efficacy Of The Vaccines Against Omicron?
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Scientists are looking at whether the Omicron variant affects the efficacy of vaccines for COVID-19. Although evidence is currently scant, vaccination efficacy in avoiding catastrophic morbidity and mortality, and preventing moderate infections and diseases, may have decreased slightly. The existing vaccinations, however, appear to give considerable protection and safety against severe sickness and mortality, as per the WHO.
4. Is It Possible To Fight The Omicron Variant With A Previous COVID-19 Immunization?
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Early research shows that previous illness or infection can provide some resistance against the Omicron variant than other types, such as the Delta variant, as per the WHO.
While COVID-19 victims may develop some resistance to the strain or virus, we cannot say how effective or powerful this immunization is. Approved vaccines give a more consistent degree of defense.
3. How Do I Know If I Have Been Infected With Omicron?
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Swabs from PCR testing sent to labs for investigation can reveal if the infection-causing variation looks like Omicron, Delta, or something else.
Scientists can establish if someone is positive with Omicron or the already widely-circulated Delta virus by thoroughly examining the genetic material obtained via testing.
2. What Precautionary Measures Should I Take?
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Get vaccinated and immunized if you have not already, get a booster shot if you are willing to, and ramp up any measures you may have neglected, such as wearing masks and covering your mouth and nose, to protect yourself from Covid-19 caused by any other variant.
Testing is an additional safeguard in addition to masking, avoiding crowds, practicing social distancing, washing your hands regularly, using a sanitizer, and increasing ventilation. This is advised for anyone suffering from Covid-19 symptoms or who may have been exposed to the virus.
1. What Should The Main Concern About The New Variant Spreading Be?
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Health equity should continue to be a top concern. That involves providing the vaccines that have already been promised to low- and middle-income countries, as well as assisting those countries in overcoming the barriers that prevent vaccines from reaching people’s hands, such as weak healthcare systems with limited integrated logistics, infrastructural facilities, or human resource capacity to carry out national vaccination campaigns.
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With the stark differences in immunization rates between affluent and poorer nations, this new variation has sounded an even louder warning about the need to scale up vaccination globally. It has highlighted the reality that no one is safe until everyone is safe, and the COVID-19 virus will continue to evolve and proliferate, especially in nations where the majority of the population is unvaccinated.
The best way to win the pandemic fight is to demonstrate solidarity and battle it out together.