Infectious disease experts are reluctant to describe the severity of Omicron symptoms

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding the Omicron variant, but right now doctors believe it has similar aspects to the other variants we’ve seen so far. Health experts say the Delta variant remains the biggest threat in the state of Alabama. 

Experts also want everyone to be aware of the symptoms of Omicron. But how bad the symptoms can get remains in question. 

“Everything that we know up until now about COVID-19, this is going to present similarly,” said Dr. Jodie Dionne, a professor of Infectious Diseases at UAB.

Dr. Dionne said that based on the symptoms that they are seeing, there is no reason to believe right now that there will be any different approach to the treatment of the current COVID symptoms.

“The typical things you are going to feel. You’re going to have a scratchy throat, you may have a headache, you may feel that body aching fatigue. You may have a runny nose or a cough. But a lot of the time it just starts with that feeling of, I just don’t feel well and I’m extra tired.”  

Dr. Dionne added that from what they can tell, many of the Omicron cases are mild. But she says that she would be reluctant to describe it as a mild case compared to the Delta variant.   

“When we start to see the infection, numbers go up in our community or any community you see the cases rise first. But then the hospitalizations tend to rise two weeks later, and we see the deaths about three weeks after the cases started to rise. So, there are lagging indicators and we don’t know yet of the people who are being infected, who are elderly or maybe at home. They may end up in the hospital next week. That’s why we don’t want to say the severity yet.”

Dr. Dionne added that getting vaccinated remains to be the best protection against the Omicron variant or any other identified variant.

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