Video duration 02 minutes 26 seconds
How do you differentiate between Omicron, allergy, cold, flu and delta? And how well can Omicron evade the antibodies we have from the vaccine and previous infections? Will the immunity we have acquired be able to protect us from dangerous symptoms? The answers are in this comprehensive report.
How do we differentiate between Omicron and Delta?
With the Omicron strain, we see more fatigue, high fever and headache than Delta, said Dr. Jane Morgan, executive director of the COVID-19 task force at the Piedmont Healthcare system in the United States. This is in a statement to CBS 46 (cbs46).
How to differentiate between Omicron and allergy?
“With allergies, you sometimes have more tickles in your throat, and more itching in your nose and throat,” Morgan said.
“If you only have symptoms of COVID-19, you are advised to get tested, either with your primary care physician, or at an urgent care centre,” he adds.
On the other hand, doctors emphasize that you should definitely go to the emergency room immediately if you are experiencing any kind of difficulty breathing, including severe coughing, as you are having difficulty catching your breath.
How do we differentiate between corona (omicron or delta) and colds and flu?
The answer may be strange, but many doctors currently believe that the only solution to differentiate is to conduct a corona examination.
For example, Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Kansas Health System, said of people trying to diagnose a disease based on flu-like symptoms, “I think this is very dangerous. Most doctors wouldn’t.” This is according to what was reported by The Topeka Capital-Journal.
And she adds that certainly there are some symptoms that may be more common with some diseases, “These are all viruses, whether it is a common cold virus or rhinovirus, whether it is a common cough or a Corona virus or a cold, whether it is influenza, or SARS Cove2, all are viruses and they have ways similar in appearance.
“So I think if there’s any question, the first thing you really have to do is go out and take a test,” she adds.
“There’s absolutely no symptom-based way to differentiate the common cold from omicron and delta,” said Steve Stites, chief medical officer at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas.
“We’ve seen people with COVID-19 suffering from diarrhoea. We’ve seen people with COVID-19 suffering from loss of taste or smell, we’ve seen people with COVID-19 with nasal congestion, sore throat, runny nose, cough and fever… Well wait, wait.” This is what we all get when we catch a cold, so how is that different?
Doctors admit that it is confusing. Symptoms are similar to Omicron, Delta and influenza, such as body aches, fever, chills, tired feeling, congestion, coughing and sneezing, according to a report in the “ABC7 Chicago” website (abc7chicago).
“The symptoms are very similar, so go get the tests,” says Dr. Meta Shah, an emergency physician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
“Without testing, there is no way to know if someone has a cold, flu, or COVID-19,” said Dr. Alison Arwady of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
How well can Omicron evade the antibodies we have from the vaccine and previous infections?
According to an article by researchers Jesse Bloom and Sarah Kobe in “The New York Times”, the Omicron strain contains many mutations, especially in the spike protein, which is the main target of the antibodies in our bodies thanks to the vaccine or previous injury That is why scientists were very concerned that this mutant could deplete the defenses that the body has acquired against the Covid-19 virus. Laboratory experiments have shown that the ability of antibodies to counteract an Omicron infection is reduced to one in 40 compared to previous viruses.
This evidence clearly indicates that the infection will spread more this time, among the vaccinated and those who were infected earlier. A study conducted in South Africa showed that the second infection rate of Omicron strain is higher than the previous beta and delta strains. Omicron also caused mild or moderate symptoms in people who were not only vaccinated, but also on the immune-boosting dose.
Therefore, there is a strong possibility that in the future there will be a need to produce new doses of vaccines, specifically for the Omicron strain.
Will the immunity we have acquired be able to protect us from dangerous symptoms?
Even if the antibodies fail to counteract the Omicron, T cells and other antibodies we’ve developed thanks to the vaccine and previous infection, may offer us some protection from developing dangerous symptoms.
This means that higher rates of infection will not necessarily lead to higher rates of death and hospitalization, as happened in previous waves. However, to measure this accurately requires collecting data from health institutions and epidemiological studies centers after a period of time.
The authors explain that it usually takes several weeks for serious symptoms to appear after infection with the Covid-19 virus, which is why deaths and critical cases in the hospital are called the “late indicator.”
Therefore, there is no harm in feeling optimistic, and we see all reports indicating that the vaccinated people show only mild symptoms, but we must be aware that accurate and reliable information about the seriousness of this disease does not appear so quickly.
For example, it may be found later that Omicron causes mild symptoms in vaccinated and previously infected persons, but it may threaten the lives of those who do not have any immunity to it. This may again lead to overcrowding of hospitals and the collapse of the health system.
Source : Al Jazeera + Agencies + World Health Organization + Websites + The New York Times