Omicron symptoms: UK study says sniffles, headache, fatigue indicative of new variant

Several reports have said Omicron causes milder illness than past variants but scientists are still trying to find out more about the strain.
Omicron symptoms are different from those of the Delta variant.(AFP File Photo)
Omicron symptoms are different from those of the Delta variant.(AFP File Photo)
Published on Dec 19, 2021 05:53 PM IST
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By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is triggering runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and a sore throat and its symptoms are “predominantly” the same as the common cold, a Covid-19 symptom tracking study in the UK has said.

The Daily Mail reported an analysis of cases in London under the ZOE Symptom Tracking Study showed the most common signs of the Omicron variant between December 3 and 10 were a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and a sore throat.

Researchers asked hundreds of thousands of people to report their symptoms and parsed those linked to both the dominant Delta and Omicron, the latest highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus.

Also read | UK health minister declines to commit stricter Covid rules amid lockdown reports

They found a new continuous cough, high temperature or change or loss of their sense of taste and smell weren’t consistent with the signs of the virus so far.

“Omicron symptoms are predominantly cold symptoms, runny nose, headache, sore throat and sneezing, so people should stay at home as it might well be Covid,” Tim Spector, the lead scientist of the ZOE Symptom Tracking Study, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Also watch | Covid Omicron spreading faster with cases doubling in 1.5 to 3 days, says WHO

The epidemiologist also asked people to keep an eye out for these signs of Omicron ahead of Christmas when they will be meeting friends and family. 

“Hopefully people now recognise the cold-like symptoms which appear to be the predominant feature of Omicron,” he said. 

“Ahead of Christmas, if people want to get together and keep vulnerable family members safe, I’d recommend limiting social contact in the run up to Christmas and doing a few Lateral Flow Tests just before the big family gathering.”

Also read | Why breathing difficulty is unlikely a symptom of Omicron, AIIMS doctor explains

Several reports have said Omicron causes milder illness than past variants but scientists are still trying to find out more about the strain.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said on Saturday more than 10,000 new Omicron cases have been reported in the UK, in the highest daily surge so far.

The agency reported an additional 10,059 Omicron cases of the new variant on Saturday, more than three times as many as reported on Friday (3,201), taking the total number of cases to 24,968. The death toll from the Omicron variant jumped from one to seven.

In India, there have been nearly 145 Omicron cases across 11 states and Union territories, including the highest in Maharashtra.

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