India is witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases, in what can be seen as the third wave of the pandemic, driven by the Omicron variant. A total of 3, 623 cases of Omicron variant have been confirmed across 27 states/UTs so far, of which 1409 have recovered. Out of these 27 states, Maharashtra has reported the highest number of Omicron cases (1,009) followed by Delhi (513), Karnataka (441), Rajasthan (373), Kerala (333), Gujarat (204), Tamil Nadu (185), Haryana (123), Telangana (123) and Uttar Pradesh (113).
As the Omicron cases increase, here is all what you need to know about the symptoms to watch out for, how are its symptoms different from the Delta variant, recovery time, government guidelines and more.
Omicron symptoms: As per US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis, the four most common symptoms of the Omicron variant are cough, fatigue, congestion and runny nose. In India, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has also listed 5 warning signs that one must look out for. These include- difficulty in breathing, dip in oxygen saturation, consistent pain/pressure in the chest, mental confusion and persisting or worsening symptoms beyond 3-4 days.
Difference between Omicron and Delta symptoms: Some of the common symptoms of Omicron are fatigue, joint pain, cold and headache, unlike Delta wherein the common symptoms are cough, fever and loss of smell and taste. The loss of taste and smell are less prevalent in Omicron. The impact of Omicron is also said to be minimal on lungs. In Omicron, one experiences scratchy throat as opposed to sore throat in Delta.
Recovery time/ Government Guidelines: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has revised the guidelines for Omicron patients. As per the new guidelines, a patient under home isolation can be discharged and end isolation after seven days of testing positive and no fever for three successive days. There is no need to re-test after the home isolation period is over. However, they should continue to wear masks. Asymptomatic contacts of infected individuals need not undergo Covid test and monitor health in home quarantine. The treating medical officer shall consider patients older than 60 and those with co-morbidities for home isolation only after proper evaluation as home isolation is not recommended for the immunocompromised as per the guidelines.
As the cases of Omicron multiply across the world, WHO Chief has warned against categorising Omicron as a ‘mild’ infection. He said that while Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorised as mild and just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalising people and it is killing people. He added that the tsunami of cases is so huge and quick, that it is overwhelming health systems around the world.