The COVID virus has affected how the world works, introducing new requirements, guidelines, and precautions to heed. While the pandemic has seen many variants and mutations, the latest in this list is the Omicron variant. But what is this Omicron variant? And how does it differ from the other ones? Is it more deadly? Keep reading to find the answers to all these questions.
What is the Omicron variant?
It is the most recent detected variant of the COVID-19 virus. First detected in the African countries of Botswana and South Africa, it has already spread across multiple countries, especially due to relaxed protocols of international travel.
Is it a cause of concern?
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a “variant of concern” in late November 2021, creating panic in countries that had already started easing into the pre-pandemic lifestyle. However, the most concerning aspects of this variant are the lack of knowledge regarding its transmissibility, severity, how effective the vaccines will be against it, and the effectiveness of other treatment methods. While the early studies indicate that it may be less severe than the Delta variant, the ease with which it can mutate, which can impact its behaviour, and the lack of information make it a cause of much concern. Additionally, it is also presumed to transmit a bit faster than the previous variants, implying the need for strict precautions.
What are the symptoms of the Omicron variant?
While studies are underway, UNICEF states that there is no information yet that suggests that the variant exhibits symptoms different than those observed in other variants of COVID.
What precautions should be taken to deal with the Omicron variant?
Regardless of the lack of information on the variant, it should be noted that all variants of COVID-19 are deadly and that precautions are crucial. These precautions include:
- Wearing masks whenever you go out of your house
- Using sanitisers frequently when out
- Washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap
- Not gathering in large number whether at home or outside
- Isolating yourself when symptoms appear and letting others that you came in contact with in the previous 1 week know about the same
- Getting a test done when suspected to come in contact with an affected person
- Not spreading controversial news and creating panic, among others
While this may seem like a cause of panic and concern, following the precaution can help you stay away from the variant. However, be on the lookout for news updates regarding any vaccines and treatments available.