Two new omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5 have become the dominant strain infecting people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While many omicron symptoms are similar to those experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, these new variants may present slight differences in the severity of illness and the timeline of infection.
What are the top omicron symptoms to look out for?
Since the omicron variants have a shorter incubation period, the symptoms may appear earlier, explained Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.
“As your body starts recognizing the fact that it’s been infected, your immune system will start taking actions, and those actions are those symptoms that you feel: fatigue, headache, malaise,” said Adalja, per Health.
Those who have been infected may experience the same symptoms as allergies from pollen in the air, which is exacerbated during the springtime.
“We’re seeing more of the sore throat and the sinuses,” said Dr. Justin Coby, a pharmacist and director of Cedar Care Village Pharmacy, per Local 12.
The only way to know whether it’s allergies or COVID-19 is to test for it, Coby added.
What are omicron variants of concern?
The BA.4 and BA.5 variant are the newest variants gaining momentum and worrying experts.
Reports from early June showed that these two lineages only constituted 6% and 7% of all cases in the United States. Four weeks later, the new variants account for more than half of all new infections in the country, as I previously reported.
BA.5 alone makes up 36% of cases while BA.4 has a hold on 15.7%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker.
While BA.2.12.1 is the cause behind 42% of infections. This was the dominant strain earlier in May.
Initial studies indicated that the newer variants especially have an ability to evade immunity from the vaccine, previous infection, or both, according to Science.
“Vaccine-induced immunity seems imperfect at preventing infection, but it looks like it will do a good job at keeping people out of the hospital with severe disease,” said Dr. Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York, per Prevention.