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Scientists identify 1 common symptom that confirms the presence of  Omicron

Scientists identify 1 common symptom that confirms the presence of  Omicron

Infection rates are soaring across the world as a result of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, but fewer people have died or required hospital treatment compared to previous waves of Covid, health officials said . On Wednesday, South Africa recorded the highest number of infections the nation has ever seen in the pandemic, driven by the rapid spread of Omicron, said Michelle Groome, of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. The hospitalisations are not increasing at such a dramatic rate, she told a news conference. We are starting to see some increases, but relatively small increases in deaths.Wassila Jassat, also from the NICD, said the number of people requiring oxygen was lower than what it was in comparison to any of the previous wave periods. Patients do seem to stay for a shorter duration, she said. The patients infected with Omicron  variant have mild symptoms of cough and scratchy throat. The most common early sign was a scratchy throat, said CEO Dr Ryan Noach, followed by nasal congestion, a dry cough and myalgia manifesting in lower back pain. Most of these symptoms are mild, said Dr Noach, but stressed that this does not mean that Omicron is less virulent. Meanwhile, Soaring infections in Britain driven in part by the omicron variant of the coronavirus rattled Europe on Thursday, prompting new restrictions on the Continent and fuelling a familiar dread on both sides of the Atlantic about entering a new phase of the pandemic just in time for the holidays. Much remains unknown about omicron, but officials increasingly warn that it appears more transmissible than the delta variant, which has already put pressure on hospitals worldwide. With so many questions unanswered, uncertainty reigned over how quickly and how severely to crack down on Christmas travel and year-end parties. After the U.K. recorded its highest number of confirmed new COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began, France announced Thursday that it would tighten entry rules for those coming from Britain. Hours later, the country set another record, with a further 88,376 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported Thursday, almost 10,000 more than the day before. In England, the chief medical officer urged people to limit who they see in the festive period. Pubs and restaurants said many people were heeding that advice by canceling Christmas parties, though there has been much debate about whats OK to do. In the U.S., the White House insisted there was no need for a lockdown, despite signs that omicron was gaining ground there. Globally, more than 75 countries have reported confirmed cases of the new variant. In Britain, where omicron cases are doubling every two to three days, omicron was expected to soon replace delta as the dominant strain in the country. The government has accelerated its booster program in response. Authorities in the 27-nation European Union say omicron will be the dominant variant in the bloc by mid-January. Early data suggests that omicron may be milder but better at evading vaccines — making booster shots more crucial. Experts have urged caution in particular about drawing conclusions because hospitalizations lag behind infections and because many variables contribute to how sick people get. Even if omicron proves milder on the whole than delta, it may disarm some of the lifesaving tools available and put immune-compromised and elderly people at particular risk. And if its more transmissible, more infections overall raise the risk that more cases will be serious. Download.

science 2021-12-18 Livemint