By Samuetta Hill Drew
Since COVID-19 showed up worldwide two short years ago, as a nation we have experienced devastating highs and lows relative to our economy, education preparedness for our children, anxiety and depression in both adults and youth, health care systems overload, supply chain shortages, misinformation campaigns, extremism, and unfortunately numerous deaths across the spectrum.
COVID-19 has taken a global toll on nations and their citizens since its inception in 2019 and has mutated into various new forms with each form having its own differences and similarities. The newest kid on the COVID-19 block is the Omicron variant.
The World Health Organization’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution designated the new COVID-19 variant as the variant of concern (VoC) and has given it the name Omicron. The new variant of COVID-19 is also named B.1.1.529. President Joe Biden, during his latest news conference on COVID-19, emphasized that Omicron is “a cause of concern, not panic.”
The first case of this COVID variant was found from a specimen on Nov. 9, 2021 and is believed now to be our country’s most dominant COVID-19 variant. The COVID variant Omicron has a large number mutation, that is why the whole world is in fear of this variant. It likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or do not have symptoms. Symptoms of the Omicron variant are provided below and are classified in the most common symptoms, less common symptoms, and serious symptoms:
Most common – fever, cough, tiredness, loss of taste or smell. Less common – sore throat, headache, aches, pains, diarrhea, a rash on skin, discoloration of skin. Serious – difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, loss of speech or mobility, or confusion or chest pain. If anyone has any these symptoms, then he/she should urgently take the COVID test.
The medical community continues to emphasize that COVID-19 vaccinations for adults and children are the best fight in Keeping an Eye on Safety for you and your family as additional research is underway.