Since December 2019, when the coronavirus started in Wuhan, we are surrounded by a virus which is also called Covid-19. It infected millions, and we also lost many people. Since its beginning, The coronavirus is mutating itself continuously as we have seen the variants like Alpha, Delta, and now Omicron.
Emergence of Omicron
The center for disease control and prevention has been using genomic surveillance throughout the pandemic to track variants of SARS-CoV-2. On November 24, 2021, A new variant of coronavirus, B.1.1.529, was reportedly found and was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). This new variant was first detected in samples collected on November 11, 2021, in South Africa.
On 26 November 2021; WHO named the B.1.1.529 variant Omicron. From December 1, 2021; The U.S. started to observe cases of Omicron in the states.
How omicron is different from the previous variants?
The omicron variant is somewhat different from the other variants we have seen or suffered from. It is different in many aspects –
In comparison with the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, The Omicron variant is very likely to spread more quickly and on a massive scale than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, its spreading speed is not known as compared to the Delta variant.
Fatality and severe illness
For now, it is said to be less deadly but there is more data needed to confirm how omicron affects vaccinated, partially vaccinated, and non-vaccinated people.
When vaccines were made, they remained effective for Delta variant, to prevent severe illness, mass hospitalizations, and death.
Center for disease control and prevention said that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others whether they are vaccinated or not and even if they don’t have symptoms.
What are the symptoms of the Omicron variant?
By far the researchers have found that the most common symptoms are the same in Delta and Omicron.
Overall, the symptoms for COVID reported by the CDC include:
Fever or Cough
Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath.
Muscle ache or fatigue
loss of taste or smell
Unclear nose & Sore throat
Nausea or vomiting
When should you call a doctor?
The CDC urges those who have or may have COVID-19 to watch for emergency warning signs and seek medical care immediately if they experience :
- Trouble in breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Inability to wake up or to stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
- The CDC states that you can have symptoms other than the listed symptoms. In that case, if you have any symptom which is of severe concern to you, you should call your medical provider.
How to protect me from the Omicron virus?
The omicron variant of the Sars Cov-2 virus spreads in the same ways as the other variants.
Here are the protective measures you can follow to keep you and your family safe from coronavirus-
Wash hands –
- Wash your hands often and especially when you come home from outside with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Also after blowing your nose, coughing, and sneezing.
- If soap and water are not available at any place, then use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.
Use face masks –
- To reduce coronavirus spread, you should use medical-grade masks such as surgical, N95, KN95, or KF94 masks instead of the cloth ones.
- For more protection, you can wear a cloth mask on a surgical one.
Social distancing –
- Avoid going into the crowds as it puts you at a higher risk of getting infected.
- then avoid going close to the people who are sick or have any symptoms of covid.
- Avoid indoor spaces where there is less ventilation.
Improve your immunity –
The immunity of our body plays the most vital role in stopping the virus to damage the body and cause illness or severe problems.
So you should boost your immunity by including more and more immunity booster fruits like citrus fruits and green vegetables.
Get tested- if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, then you should test yourself for covid to ensure that you’re not infected.
If you’re thinking about the safety of you and your family from the coronavirus, you should get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccines are a big helper in making virus-fighting antibodies to protect you from the virus.
In many countries, a booster dose of the vaccine is being given to increasing more layers of protection against omicron.
Which are the different variants of Covid?
There are many major variants of covid like Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, and now omicron but the Delta and Omicron are the variants of concern nowadays.
Omicron – B.1.1.529
It was first identified in South Africa.
Spread: It spreads more easily than other variants, including Delta.
Vaccine: Breakthrough infections in vaccinated people are not clear but vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
Delta – B.1.617.2
It was first identified in India
Spread: Spreads more easily than other variants but not omicron.
Severe illness and death: May cause more severe cases than the other variants
Treatments: Nearly all variants circulating in the United States respond to treatment with FDA-authorized monoclonal antibody treatments.
How did Omicron emerge?
When you get infected with a virus, it gets attached to your body cells. It gets inside the cells and makes copies of their RNA, which helps them spread. If there’s a mistake in copying the RNA, the RNA gets changed.
These changes are called mutations. These changes happen randomly It’s normal in viruses as they multiply and spread. This is how Omicron came out and spread throughout the world.