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Omicron: A New Variant of Coronavirus

Omicron has turned out to be highly transmissible and less susceptible to vaccines than other variants in just a few weeks since its discovery. The new variant is two to three times as likely to spread.

This new variant is first identified in Botswana and South Africa in November. Omicron has surged around the world over the past few weeks, faster than any previously known form of the coronavirus. While there’s a lot that experts have yet to understand about Omicron, the variant is already causing a rise in new cases that may push some hospital systems to the breaking point. 

What are the symptoms of Omicron?

Early evidence shows that for most people, Omicron appears to result in mild illness that can resemble the common cold which is another form of the coronavirus. Accordingly, there appear to be prominent symptoms from Omicron including:

Unlike in previous variants, the loss of taste and smell seems to be uncommon. These symptoms are based on early reports of Omicron cases.

For people who have been vaccinated, but have not had a booster, typical symptoms include more coughing, more fever, and more fatigue. Also, if you are vaccinated and have had a booster, Omicron tends to produce milder infections.

How to prevent the spread of Omicron?

Since there is still short of information about the new variant, it is important to know what precautionary measures you must observe to prevent the spread of the infection. Regardless of the variant, mitigation and prevention measures are the same. To help prevent transmission and to reduce your risk of exposure, you may follow these:

  • Get a COVID vaccination and booster dose.
  • Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth in public indoor settings.
  • For young children who aren’t yet qualified for the vaccine, lessen the risk of exposure by making sure the people around them are vaccinated.
  • Physically distance, about six feet, around people outside of your own household.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces, and remember that outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, don’t host or attend a gathering.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

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