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4 main omicron variant symptoms to expect

The new omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5, are rapidly spreading in the U.S. Here are the symptoms you should look out for

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An illustration of omicron.

Illustration by Alex Cochran, Deseret News

The “stealth” omicron variant is on track to be surpassed by new COVID-19 subvariants, namely BA.4 and BA.5.

This week, the BA.5 strain alone made up 20%-27% of cases in the U.S., while BA.4 had a hold on 8.8% to 14.5% of infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker.

On Thursday, Chicago’s public health commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, admitted that while the latest strains seem mild, some preliminary studies show that infections could be more severe with the new strains, per NBC Chicago.

“With BA.4 and BA.5 in particular, there were some animal studies that showed, for example, a little more what we call pathogenic, a little more problematic like in some of the animal lungs and stuff where tests were done — mice, etc.,” Arwady said.

“And potentially BA.4, BA.5 could be could be a little more intense, but overall, I think, you know, if you’re vaxxed and boosted, I just say thank goodness you’re vaxxed and boosted if you are having, you know, significant symptoms because that’s a sign that you could have gotten even sicker.”

So, what are the omicron symptoms to look out for?

Per the CDC, here are the common symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headache.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Sore throat.
  • Congestion or runny nose.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

But here are the four most commonly reported omicron symptoms, published in a CDC report:

  • Cough.
  • Fatigue.
  • Congestion.
  • Runny nose.