Omicron has proven to be challenging in the fight against COVID-19. The COVID-19-causing variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus first appeared in the United States toward the end of 2021 and quickly spread throughout the country. Since then, several Omicron subvariants have emerged, some of which are better at evading vaccination or previous infection immunity than others.
A new Omicron subvariant known as XBB.1.5 was the most transmissible strain of the virus in the United States at the beginning of 2023. Cases were also thought to be rising due to fewer people wearing masks and participating in recent holiday gatherings and spending more time outside. Experts are still attempting to acquire a deeper comprehension of XBB.1.5 and other Omicron subvariants like BQ 1.1, which keep moving around. They are also keeping an eye on over 300 other Omicron kin around the world.
According to data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dated January 28, 2023, the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 has probably emerged as the predominant variant in the United States. This variant was responsible for 61.3% of COVID cases. It is still unknown whether XBB.1.5 is capable of launching its own global infection wave.
Many experts are perplexed as to what they already know about COVID-19 and what is new about the variant in light of the rise in omicron cases worldwide. Doctors and researchers are beginning to learn more about Omicron, a highly contagious coronavirus with a shorter incubation period, and how it affects healthy people who have been vaccinated, have not been vaccinated, or have had a COVID-19 infection in the past.
So, how are people made aware that they are in contact with Omicron?
Many people who have the omicron, the coronavirus variant, appear to get sick more quickly and exhibit symptoms that are different from those of other COVID-19 variants. As per early proof, it has been seen that in the vast majority (particularly the people who are completely immunized especially alongside the promoter portion), the Omicron causes milder sickness that can copy a typical chilly, an alternate type of COVID-19. The majority of patients exhibit the most prominent omicron symptoms, which are as follows:
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Sore throat
- Runny nose or congestion in the nose
The aforementioned typical symptoms are found to be more severe in people who have not been vaccinated or who have not received a booster. Infected individuals typically experience symptoms as soon as three days after exposure to the omicron variant or after a full week. The majority of patients experience only three to five days of these symptoms. When compared to other people who have been vaccinated, it is most likely that only those patients who have not been vaccinated are sicker and may require emergency care and hospital stays in the intensive care unit.
In severe cases of COVID-19, patients may endure long-term symptoms like crushing fatigue and irregular heartbeats for months after exposure. These were observed during the first wave of the pandemic, and it is anticipated that this variant will also result in such a circumstance.
When should the patient get tested for COVID-19?
Because the Omicron variant may have a shorter incubation period, medical professionals recommend that anyone who has come into contact with an infected individual undergo testing approximately 72 hours (that is, after three days) after the exposure to determine whether they have tested positive. However, millions of people who engage in social activities or have been interacting with friends and family are unaware that they have been exposed to COVID-19. In such instances, scheduling a test for the day of the public gathering is prudent. Patients who test positive are required to self-quarantine, don masks, and get in touch with a medical professional for assistance.
Make sure to assess if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. If so, opt for a molecular respiratory pathogen panels (RPPs) test for quicker and more precise detection. Call us at +1 (205) 994-8266 if you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment. We are here to assist you.