How are the symptoms of Omicron different from earlier COVID-19 variants like Delta and Alpha?
GP and Associate Clinical Professor of General Practice, Dr Ray Wally, says he hasn’t seen any recent patients who have lost their sense of taste or smell. “Headache and chills are the most prominent symptoms of Omicron, but I have seen few gastrointestinal symptoms in children and the elderly,” says Wally.
Dr. Ioghan de Barra, infectious disease consultant at Beaumont Hospital, says many people with omicrons have “headaches, runny nose and chest pain without the low energy or need for oxygen from previous infections” – although he has noted that older patients may have decreased appetite and constipation. Symptoms of low oxygen levels and diffuse pneumonia are present with severe infection in uninfected patients, as well as severe infection.
De Barra warns of attributing the symptoms to Omicron alone. “The transition depends on the host” [human] as well as pathogen [in this case the Covid-19 virus], so more than 90 percent of the population has been vaccinated and others who have had previous forms of infection, we cannot rule out that our bodies are reacting differently to the virus rather than the virus itself “
Can I catch both Omicron and Delta or get sick from one type after another?
Volley says he is not aware that anyone is getting both Delta and Omicron together. “I have patients – including some who have been vaccinated and extended – who had COVID in early December and were positive on antigen tests again in January, which means they have Delta and Omicron. Both are.”
Will the antibodies I develop after I get sick protect me from catching new strains of COVID-19?
It is impossible to say for sure. Antibodies from infection or vaccination with COVID-19 will reduce the severity of future infections, although new and dangerous forms may emerge as long as large sections of the population in the developing world remain illiterate. That said, a recent study in South Africa found that an Omicron infection somewhat protects against future delta infections.
With one million cases of COVID-19 now detected in Ireland (and many more undetected), can we now say that the disease is endemic?
US infectious disease specialist Dr Anthony Fauci has said that he does not think that the threat of Kovid-19 is still there. Fauci said, “Even with viruses that mutate and mutate, you get to a steady state where there is enough infection and/or vaccination in the community that there is enough background immunity that the level of infection amounts to disease and disease.” The seriousness of both is less.”
Because Omicron is predicted to infect about 40 percent of the global population in the next two months, it is expected to increase population immunity for some time. However, endemicity pertains specifically to each type in each region, and the arrival of a new and more severe variant from overseas is always a threat.
“The problem is that if we reduce this wave too much, there may be other waves in which the host/pathogen interaction is different because the virus is changing but so are humans,” de Barra says.
Do we need to be afraid of COVID or will only the vulnerable need boosters and protective measures in future?
Volley believes it is too early to let down our guard. “We are still one to two weeks away from seeing whether the omicron wave will lead to an increase in admissions to intensive care units. I am cautiously optimistic, but we need to be cautious, and now is the time for people who are immune-compromised to receive their fourth vaccine dose, as their third dose was about three months ago, and The effectiveness of the vaccine will be reduced. Now.”
According to Wally, this omicron wave does not appear to be as severe for those who are vaccinated, but it is serious for those who have not been vaccinated and who are immunised. “Most people who get sick are not vaccinated,” he says.