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Why finding omicron variant symptoms is so tricky

Discovering omicron variant symptoms might be harder without a COVID-19 test

Emilia Lewis gets a COVID-19 test.
Emilia Lewis, 17, gets a COVID-19 test at the Cannon Health Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. The omicron variant has made it difficult for people to see if they’re infected with the novel coronavirus, according to Dr. Brandy Darby, who works with the Virginia Department of Health.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

The omicron variant has made it difficult for people to see if they’re infected with the novel coronavirus, according to Dr. Brandy Darby, who works with the Virginia Department of Health.

Darby said the most common omicron variant symptoms include runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and sore throat, per 13 News Now. But discovering symptoms can be tricky since those symptoms are so similar to the common cold.

  • “We have seen some reports that loss of taste and smell may be happen a little less often with omicron. That said, we’ve got a lot of flu going around right now and a lot of cold virus and a lot of respiratory virus as well,” she said, according to 13 News Now.
  • “So the only way to know for certain if you’re feeling ill is to go and get tested,” she added.

Earlier in December, Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, told Yahoo! News that it’s hard to distinguish between the common cold and the omicron variant because the symptoms are so similar.

  • Barrett said it’s not a “useful tool to differentiate between the two.”
  • She said getting a COVID-19 test remains the best way to determine the difference between the two.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins in an interview Monday morning that there’s a shortage of COVID-19 tests right now, but more tests will be available in January.

  • “You know, testing has always been an issue. ... That has been problematic. It has been compounded by the situation of the high demands,” Fauci told CNN.
  • “Obviously, not making any excuses for it: We should have had more tests available. But hopefully now as we get into the first couple of weeks in January, that’ll get much better,” he said.