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Why ‘mild’ COVID symptoms aren’t what you think they are

Experts still recommend you keep an eye on mild COVID-19 symptoms because mild means something different

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An illustration of the omicron variant.

Experts still recommend you keep an eye on mild COVID-19 symptoms because mild means something different.

Illustration by Michelle Budge, Deseret News

The omicron variant has been linked to mild COVID-19 symptoms — but that doesn’t mean you’re exactly due for a walk in the park.

The news: Experts are pushing forth the idea that the phrase “mild COVID-19 symptoms” doesn’t mean what you think it does.

  • In some cases, mild symptoms might indicate something akin to the flu or a cold.
  • In other scenarios, mild COVID-19 symptoms could be a severe cold that stops short of hospitalization.

Why it matters: The ongoing “let it rip” approach — letting COVID-19 spread without lockdowns or quarantine — suggests that most people will get infected by the omicron variant (deemed a “mild” version of COVID-19) sooner or later. But infections, even from a mild version of COVID-19, could still knock you out for days.

Quotes: “The big question is whether or not you’re able to recuperate at home,” Carl Lambert Jr., a Chicago-based family physician, told HuffPost.

  • “When I talk to patients, I explain that moderate or severe means that you had to go to the hospital and they had to keep you to watch you,”he said.
  • “Mild is not always so mild,” said Dr. William Schaffer, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Disease, told ABC News.
  • “If you’re not sick enough to go to the hospital, there is a tendency to fill some of those roles,” he added.

Remember this: “The patients who are having mild symptoms usually are patients who are vaccinated and boosted,” Lambert told HuffPost.