Symptoms of coronavirus have differed among the variants. As Omicron rages on, with a concerning level of transmissibility, people are experiencing different side effects.
While traditionally, early signs of Covid included a fever, cough, and a loss of smell and taste, the Delta and Omicron variants have shown newer symptoms.
Last month, Dr Angelique Coetzee – the doctor who was the first to identify the signs of the new variant – told Good Morning Britain how this mutation of coronavirus differs from the original.
Dr Coetzee said she noticed things in this version of Covid not previously seen, after a 30-year-old man came to see her with viral symptoms.
The main indicators were fatigue, body aches and headaches, she said. Dr Coetzee also said that patients at the time did not report losing their taste or smell as with the Delta variant, and there hadn’t been a drop in oxygen levels.
But on Tuesday (December 16), Dr Coetzee said while Omicron is presenting as a ‘mild disease’, it is a “different picture in hospital admissions especially in unvaccinated people”.
Dr Coetzee said the newer signs were:
Mild muscle aches
However, for unvaccinated people, the symptoms are worse and many are ending up in hospital. Dr Coetzee said that in South Africa, “on a hospital level… between 88% to 90% (of people) are unvaccinated.”
Meanwhile in the UK, former vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said Omicron will be especially devastating for the unvaxxed. “The variant is so infectious, it will seek [unvaccinated people] out”.
At the moment, around 10 people are in hospital with Omicron.
The education secretary added: “Omicron will find those who are unprotected and will infect them and that’s what we want to avoid”.
We also reached out to Professor Tim Spector, the lead scientist at the Zoe Covid Study, to ask about the differences in how the variant manifests between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
He told HuffPost UK: “It is still early days but from an initial look at the symptoms reported in new cases, particularly those in London which we know has a high prevalence of Omicron now, we aren’t seeing a clear difference between Omicron and Delta.
“The top symptoms we continue to see are the following: runny nose, headache, fatigue (mild and severe, sneezing and sore throat. These symptoms are often very mild to so it will feel more like a cold than something more severe.”
In terms of different symptoms between those who are jabbed and those who are not, it’s too early to tell, he says.
“Our study population is highly vaccinated so it’s not possible for us to comment on symptoms in unvaccinated at this time. The Zoe Covid Study has just launched a new feature into the app which allows people to confirm whether they have had a positive Omicron test, and this should help us have a better idea on symptoms soon.”
The are now more than 5,000 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the UK. And while people are being encouraged to test when necessary, lateral flow tests and PCR tests are unavailable via the NHS website due to high demand.
The government has also advised that all adults now get the booster.