The omicron wave continues as reinfections become more common, with over 650 deaths reported on Aug. 2 and the daily average of COVID-19 related hospitalizations lingering around nearly 6,300, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
“We do not know about the clinical severity of BA.4 and BA.5 in comparison to our other Omicron subvariants,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing, per CNN. “But we do know it to be more transmissible and more immune-evading. People with prior infection, even with BA.1 and BA.2, are likely still at risk for BA.4 or BA.5.”
What are the main symptoms of omicron?
A study conducted by researchers in Norway, following an omicron outbreak in November 2021, interviewed over a hundred individuals, with 89% vaccinated but not boosted. It found five symptoms were the most common:
- Over 80% commonly reported a cough, while 72% experienced a sore throat.
- A stuffy nose was reported by 78%.
- Seventy-four percent reported fatigue.
- Nearly 70% experienced a headache.
- Only 54% had a fever.
These symptoms, also listed by the CDC, can make the omicron infection look like a common cold.
Is it easier to get reinfected with the new omicron subvariants?
The newer subvariants have the ability to evade immunity from vaccines or prior infections, or both, per the Deseret News.
Since BA.4 and BA.5 have become the dominant strains, Dr. Wesley Long, an experimental pathologist at Houston Methodist Hospital, told CNN that he has seen cases of reinfection.
“I have seen some cases of reinfection with people who had a BA.2 variant in the last few months,” he added. While vaccine immunity helps lower the severity of infection, it doesn’t offer complete protection.