OMICRON VARIANT: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The waves of COVID-19 from early 2020 till date no doubt, has brought the consciousness of world to keep safe while following its phenomenon as it unvails. The global pandemic has ravaged people across the globe in different variants, ranging from Delta to the most recent one, Omicron which was allegedly discovered in South Africa in November, 2021, in which at least more than 24 countries have now reported cases of omicron and the WHO expects the number to progress.
Some other countries that have identified the variant are the U.K., France, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and a number of countries in southern Africa.
However, in a press briefing held by WHO’s Africa office, the UN agency’s regional experts told CNBC that the origin of the omicron variant was unknown, and they criticized restrictive travel measures placed on southern African countries.
A COVID-19 variant was In November 2021, named Omicron, after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. The World Health Organization uses Greek letters to name variants, because these names are easier to communicate than scientific designations like B.1.617.2. According to the WHO, the 13th and 14th Greek letters (nu and xi) were omitted because ‘nu’ sounds like ‘new,’ and ‘xi’ is also a common surname.
The pace of Omicron variant in spreading is more easy than the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Delta variant. The Center For Disease Control expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
Individuals infected with the Omicron variant can appear with symptoms identical to previous variants. COVID-19 vaccination status, the presence of other health conditions, age, and history of prior infection can influence the presence and severity of symptoms. On a more general instance, Omicron infection results in less severe disease than infection with prior variants. Primary data suggest that Omicron has the potency to cause more mild disease, although some people may still have severe disease, need hospitalization, and could die from the infection with this variant.
So far, the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19 and reduce the probability of new variants emerging is the COVID-19 vaccines. It comprises initial series, booster shots and additional doses for those who need them.
As more cases of the new omicron Covid variant emerge around the world, experts say it’s likely that the variant has already been circulating for some time.