Omicron vs delta: Can you tell which COVID variant you have?


** Related video above: Ohio infectious disease expert on omicrons. **

(NEXSTAR) – With the highly infectious omicron variant spreading globally, people who test positive for COVID-19 may wonder what mutation of the virus they have.

Follow Yale Medicine, and caused a dramatic increase in hospitalizations and deaths.

However, scientists are now closely monitoring the spread of omicrons to determine their ability to cause severe disease and evade vaccine protection. On Friday, the World Health Organization said there had been no documented deaths from omicrons since it was identified by South African researchers in November.

So if you have COVID-19 and are wondering if it’s omicron or delta, will the tests tell you which variant you have? They do, but unfortunately you won’t have access to them.

Results from PCR or antigen testing are forwarded to laboratories at local health departments or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for genome sequence. This process can take up to several weeks and helps public health officials track the spread and mutation of the coronavirus.

While you may not get lab test results, Dr Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California San Francisco, says that early data shows a difference. markedly in reported symptoms from omicron versus delta.

“I think what’s interesting is what people don’t have,” Dr Chin-Hong said of the recent cases recorded in South Africa. “They have no loss of taste and smell, no shortness of breath or severe coughing… that’s what we know so far.”

He added that fever is also not talked about much when it comes to omicron cases.

European health officials published a study earlier this month that found that half of the first 70 omicron patients studied had no symptoms, while the other half had “very mild” symptoms. Chin-Hong said.

The symptoms reported were largely flu- or cold-like with headache, muscle aches, or fatigue.

So far, cases in the US have also had mild symptoms, he added.

Chin-Hong cautions that it is still early days and this variation may not have the same impact in the US as it does in South Africa, where the population is younger and with fewer illnesses.

When it comes to recovering from omicrons or deltas, he adds, vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent hospitalization and serious illness or death. Omicron vs delta: Can you tell which COVID variant you have?


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