New Coronavirus Variant: Omicron

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American Society for Microbiology

Imagine of an Omicron variant.

It has been nearly two years since the Coronavirus hit the world. There have been several variants of the virus, but recently, a new variant has been discovered. Called Omicron, this variant was first discovered in South Africa on November 24. Ever since discovering this variant, many countries have banned flights from South Africa and have placed strict quarantine guidelines on people traveling from South Africa. Omicron is different from the previous variants. Compared to the Delta variant, which is highly contagious, scientists have yet to determine whether the Omnicron is more contagious than the Delta. They know that Omicron has a lot of mutations, which means that people who already had Covid-19 can get reinfected. When it comes to symptoms, it seems that the symptoms produced by Omicron are milder than the Delta variant. People still experience a fever, coughing, and shortness of breath; however, people do not report a loss of taste and smell.  However, milder symptoms also mean that people might not know they have it and can spread the virus without their knowledge. This pandemic seems like it is never-ending, but let’s not lose hope, because everything has to come to an end one day.

The Omicron variant originated from South Africa and rapidly spread through the world. So far, the Omicron has been detected in 38 countries, yet no deaths have been reported. In the US, the Omicron variant has been reported in at least 16 states. It seems like this variant is picking up speed, but the Delta is still the dominant variant, as 99.9 percent of reported cases are from the Delta variant. Although Delta is currently the dominant variant, there still is a possibility that the Omicron can become the next. This might be a good thing because experts say that this variant is milder than the Delta. However, one should not let their guards down. People should still practice social distancing, wash their hands, and get vaccinated. 

Experts have found that the Omicron variant produces milder symptoms than the Delta variant. However, due to the fact that this variant is still so new, experts have yet to know how severe the symptoms can get with the Omicron variant. Although this is true, when looking at the statistics, the European CDC has reported that of the 70 cases of Omicron in Europe, 50% have no symptoms and 50% have mild symptoms. Also, in the U.S, cases have been mild so far. The symptoms are still the same, as listed above, and people who have been hospitalized were not required to be in the ICU and did not need oxygen.

This pandemic has been going on longer than people expected. It seems that there has been a new variant every year. Omicron is one of the newer variants, though it has not yet been observed to be as harmful as Delta. Even though this is the case, the Omicron variant can still be deadly because it is too early to know. All in all, the pandemic has changed the way people do things, and also they have come to adapt to it. Many do not know when this pandemic will end, but if one does their part in stopping the virus from spreading, this pandemic will eventually be a thing of history.