The hospitalization rate for the highly transmissible COVID Omicron type has also been increasing. However, scientists agree that additional research is required to determine the long-term implications of these COVID-19 infections.
Based on what we’ve observed with past variations, there’s no proof that Omicron won’t induce lengthy COVID.
So far, here’s what we know.
Omicron: Is There a Relationship Between Symptoms and Long-Term Effects?
Long COVID, also known as chronic or long-haul COVID, is a group of more than 50 symptoms that may linger for weeks or months following a COVID-19 infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There is no discernible difference in symptoms between acute COVID-19 infections produced by Omicron and those caused by other variations, such as Delta.
According to ZOE research, the following are the most common symptoms of Omicron infections:
- clogged nose
- throat pain
“Though there is some evidence that the Omicron variant spreads more easily, fortunately, early data appear to indicate that the variant may cause less severe disease within the population,” said Dr. Scott Lilli bridge, physician, epidemiologist, and International Medical Corps’ director of emergency response.
Even while the majority of the public has been reporting more cold-like, milder symptoms with Omicron, experts believe this might be related to a greater degree of immunity (through infection or immunizations) in the community.
“Because the majority of the population is completely vaccinated, many Omicron infections in the United States are breakthrough infections [infections in vaccinated people].” “A vaccinated individual is expected to have a less severe course,” said Dr. Marisa Montecalvo, professor of medicine and medical director of NYMC Health Services at New York Medical College.
A COVID symptom research conducted in the United Kingdom showed that patients who had been vaccinated were 49 percent less likely to develop protracted COVID after being infected with COVID-19.
However, Montecalvo cautioned that some patients may still have moderate-to-severe illness.
According to Lilli bridge, there will always be exceptions for every variety, particularly for persons with underlying health conditions.
Long COVID Incidence Estimation For Omicron
It has been difficult to track lengthy COVID instances since various health bodies and nations have varying processes and conditions for symptoms to be categorized as such.
In the United Kingdom, for example, the symptoms must be present for at least three months in order to be classified as protracted COVID. For the CDC, this time span is four weeks or longer. Reliable Source.
Furthermore, since Omicron was just discovered in November 2021, there hasn’t been enough time for patients or clinicians to see evidence of extended COVID.
Long COVID may affect everyone who has had a COVID-19 infection, whether they were hospitalized or merely had minor symptoms.
According to research, even modest instances of COVID-19 may cause long-term effects.
In a recent interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease specialist in the United States, reaffirmed that lengthy COVID was a possibility regardless of the variation.
“Long COVID may develop regardless of viral variant.” “There’s no indication of a difference between Delta, Beta, or now Omicron,” he stated.
A previous study has suggested that up to 30% of patients would have lengthy COVID.
According to studies, 1 in 7 children and young adults may still have COVID-19-related symptoms 15 weeks after infection.
Montecalvo emphasised that although lengthy COVID might probably be a result of Omicron infections, its incidence rate was unclear at the time.
Some specialists feel that the frequency of protracted COVID is lower because Omicron does not seem to induce a significant or persistent increase in inflammatory markers in the body during infection. In extreme situations with significant inflammation, long COVID has typically been more detrimental.
According to Andrew Catchpole, DPhil, virologist and chief scientific officer of hVIVO, which conducts human challenge research for infectious illnesses, he does not anticipate a larger prevalence of protracted COVID cases in proportion to Omicron infections.
“While Omicron is more infectious, infectivity is not associated with a higher risk of protracted COVID.” It is more closely related to severity. “Because Omicron infections are less severe on average than other variations or the original strain, we would predict a smaller number of protracted COVID cases with Omicron,” he told Healthline.
When Should You Get Assistance For a Lengthy COVID?
According to Catchpole, diagnosis lengthy COVID is based on both the symptom and its duration.
“We would anticipate all of the symptoms associated with the acute condition while the patient is infectious to disappear within 10 to 14 days,” he told Healthline.
He described symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever, muscular pains, tiredness, and, in rare instances, diarrhoea and nausea.
“It would be remarkable if any of them [symptoms] persisted for a longer period of time.” Anything that is still visible one month following the start of the initial symptoms should be investigated by a doctor.”
— Andrew Catchpole, Ph.D.
According to Lillibridge, the most troubling symptoms that indicated a need for further research were recurrent shortness of breath, weariness, and difficulty focusing.
Follow up with your healthcare practitioner if you are suffering these symptoms or more after your infection and they linger beyond 2 to 3 weeks of recovery from your acute sickness, he told Healthline.
Catchpole further cautioned that two symptoms in particular, when it comes to extended COVID, may not be the reason for alarm.
A loss of taste and/or smell, according to Catchpole, may last for weeks or months, with more than three months being rather typical.
“I would advise anybody who is worried about a symptom to consult with their doctor.” “One would not want to ascribe a symptom to ‘long COVID’ that may be an indication of another issue,” Montecalvo said.
There has also been worry about reinfections reactivating lengthy COVID symptoms in patients who previously had COVID-19 infections.
A Spanish healthcare worker, for example, contracted the original strain in February 2020, the Delta strain in July 2021, and the Omicron strain in November 2021.
Her symptoms have included persistent pain, exhaustion, and memory loss as a result of the reinfections.
It is too early to determine if Omicron will result in more lengthy COVID cases, and specialists are split on the subject.
One school of thought contends that the apparent decrease in illness intensity and increased vaccination will help guard against long COVID.
Others predict that Omicron’s strong transmissibility will increase the number of lengthy COVID cases, making the disorder a chronic public health problem.
Although being vaccinated considerably reduces the likelihood of having lengthy COVID, reinfection may cause symptoms to flare up.