Omicron symptoms: What you should be looking out for
The worst affected demographics are those below the age of 40 and the unvaccinated
Though little is known about the Omicron variant, South African officials believe the symptoms could be milder than other covid variants.
Dr Angelique Coetzee was one of the first doctors in the world to witness the effect of Omicron on the human body. She said that she noticed seven patients at her clinic, all of which were exhibiting symptoms similar to the Delta variant.
"What brought them to the surgery was this extreme tiredness," Dr Coetzee told AFP, while also adding that the patients had mild muscle aches, a "scratchy throat" and dry cough.
On November 18, Dr Coetzee informed health officials that Omicron had a "clinical picture that doesn't fit Delta".
She explained: "Symptoms at that stage was very much related to normal viral infection. And because we haven't seen covid-19 for the past eight to 10 weeks, we decided to test," she told Reuters.
"We have seen a lot of Delta patients during the third wave. And this doesn't fit in the clinical picture. Most of them are seeing very, very mild symptoms and none of them so far have admitted patients to surgeries."
The doctor says the worst affected demographics are those below the age of 40 and the unvaccinated.
"We are seeing patients present with dry cough, fever, night sweats and a lot of body pains. Vaccinated people tend to do much better," said South Africa's Department of Health, general practitioner Dr Unben Pillay on Monday.
There was also a "very sharp increase" in cases over a 10-day period which could be evidence of higher transmissibility.
At the covid briefing, epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim also said: "higher transmissibility is likely. We are going to get more cases quickly, we are already seeing early evidence of this."
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dubbed Omicron as a "variant of concern", sparking countries around the world to instigate restrictions.
More information is expected to be made public in the coming weeks.
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