“No Need to Panic:” South African Doctor Who First Reported Omicron Variant of Coronavirus Calls Symptoms “Very Mild”
The South African doctor who first pointed towards the omicron variant of coronavirus as a new strain of the disease is indicating its symptoms are “very mild,” and cautioning against overreactions on the part of the public and governments.
Dr. Angelique Coetzee has distinguished between symptoms of omicron and other coronavirus variants, such as the delta strain and the original virus.
“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” said Coetzee of the omicron patients she’s treated. Coetzee is the chair of the South African Medical Association.
“Most of them are seeing very, very mild symptoms and none of them so far have admitted patients to surgeries. We have been able to treat these patients conservatively at home,” she’s said of her experiences treating omicron patients.
Coetzee has indicated about half of the omicron patients she’s treated haven’t been vaccinated yet. The symptoms of omicron are also different than traditional coronavirus symptoms, such as loss of taste and smell. “The most predominant clinical complaint is severe fatigue for one or two days. With them, the headache and the body aches and pain.”
“We are not even admitting them, they’re at home and they get better within two to three days after we have seen them,” said Coetzee of her omicron patients and hospitalization. “Nothing spectacular at this stage, and there really is no need to panic.” There’s a potential that the omicron variant could spur a new round of lockdowns and restrictions on the public.
Decreased lethality in newer strains of coronavirus align with scientific understanding of many viral diseases, which tend to evolve in the direction of long-term survivability than infecting hosts with cases that result in severe disease or death. A less lethal omicron variant could indicate coronavirus is evolving in the direction of common diseases such as influenza.