Omicron is the fastest spreading variant of Covid yet, according to The World Health Organisation. But does this mean that the symptoms of Omicron also show up sooner than previous variants like Delta?
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The Omicron Covid variant has been spreading quickly across the UK, with cases hitting a record high of 78,610 on Wednesday, December 15.
Scientists are still trying to understand the “super mutant”, but we do know that transmission rates are high, and there are fears that it can evade immunity from vaccines or previous infection.
The symptoms of Omicron are reportedly slightly different to other variants like Delta, but they are often described as “mild”. That’s why it’s important to know whether you have a cold, or Covid.
Here’s what you need to know about how fast symptoms of Omicron can show up after you’ve been infected by the virus.
How long does it take for Omicron symptoms to show?
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Like other variants, symptoms of Omicron can take anywhere between three and 14 days to display, according to WHO. On average it takes five to six days.
People may also be asymptomatic, but they can still infect others from around two days before symptoms start, and for up to 10 days after.
That is why people are asked to isolate if they test positive even if they show no symptoms.
Though some reports suggest that symptoms of Omicron may be milder for those who have been vaccinated or had previous infection, Reuters reported that preliminary evidence indicates lower vaccine efficacy against the new variant.
How are symptoms of Omicron different to other variants?
Research from the University of Hong Kong, found that Omicron multiplies 70 times faster compared to the original Sars-CoV-2 virus and Delta variant.
However, initial evidence has also suggested that the new variant, which was first detected in southern Africa, showed that symptoms were more mild that other strains.
The symptoms have also been said to vary, with some being specific only to Omicron. Traditional symptoms of Covid, according to the NHS, is a high temperature, a persistent cough and a loss/change to sense of smell or taste.
However, there are five different symptoms which have been identified as signs of Omicron. This includes developing a strange scratchy feeling in the throat, dry cough constant tiredness, muscle aches and sometimes even night sweats.
Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, and the doctor who first raised the alarm over the new strain, also added that some patients with Omicron seemed to suffer from headaches, sore muscles and fatigue.
All of these were more intense among unvaccinated people than those who were jabbed, according to the doctor.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.