6 Things You Need to Know About the Omicron Variant

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More mutations

Like any other virus, the COVID-19 one is prone to mutations as the virus continues to replicate and every mutation can make it different from the one before it. This is how earlier in the year we got the Delta variant of the virus and now we have the Omicron variant. The only reason these are named is that there is something in their composition that makes them more virulent than the original virus. There could be countless other variants that just did not do anything different or dangerous enough to be named.

Despite not knowing how the Omicron variant came to be, researchers presume that it appeared when the virus remained with one patient for too long. It is important for the variant to not be spreading around so much, but due to the fact that the Omicron variant mutates way more than any other variant, it may be the reason for which it spread so easily.

Easy spread

Even from its early stages, there has been evidence that the Omicron variant spreads easily, making it more transmissible than its predecessors. This may have made it more feared from the start when we did not even know that much about this variant.

Compared to Delta, despite the fragmentary data, it seems like Omicron is just as, if not even more contagious than Delta. Experts already warn that Omicron might be around more than Delta, given its high contagious nature, even making the comparison that if the two were to race, Omicron would actually outrun Delta. All is just speculation as the variant has not been around long enough, but it has been spreading fast. As of December 21st, Omicron is the dominant strain in the U.S.

Milder illness?

It is still being debated whether the Omicron variant is less severe than the other variants before. However, compared to the hospitalization rates caused by the Delta variant, Omicron seems to not be as aggressive on this front: the hospitalization rates remain low and the symptoms seem to be less severe than in the previous variant –  take into consideration this varies from country to country and from age group to age group, as it is hard to gauge what happens when there are so many vaccine rates and variations around the world.

With how tricky the symptoms are when it comes to Covid, it is hard to say what is mild and what is not, creating a lot of uncertainty. This is especially true for the Omicron variant as the first cases have been spotted in young adults, who are known to generally fare better with the virus than older people.

Due to this, it is hard for specialists to say whether or not Omicron is less severe in symptoms than Delta. Nor can they be definitive on this issue, nor can they say it is worse. The good news lies in the fact that despite how easily transmissible this variant is, the hospitals are not overwhelmed like they were with previous strains and at the start of the pandemic.

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