Is Omicron more contagious than Delta? 5 FAQs about the newest Covid variant, answered

The World Health Organization has named the newest coronavirus variant Omicron. Will Omicron be able to trigger the third wave of Covid in India?

 |  2-minute read |   29-11-2021
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The Covid-19 pandemic has upended many lives. After the huge vaccination drive, everyone believed that the end of this microscopic villain is near. But, before this dream could turn into reality, there’s a new variant of Covid-19 in town. Termed ‘Omicron’ by the World Health Organization (WHO), the new Covid-19 variant has created a panic-like situation in countries across the globe.

WHO named the B.1.1.529 variant Omicron on November 26. Amid growing concerns, WHO has also answered top questions about the Omicron variant.

1. IS IT MORE DANGEROUS THAN THE DELTA VARIANT?

In terms of transmissibility, WHO has declared that it is not clear yet whether Omicron is more transmissible compared to Delta and other variants. Studies are underway to understand the rate of transmission.

corovirus-inside-647_112921055321.jpgWHO named the B.1.1.529 variant Omicron. Illustration: DailyO

2. WILL OMICRON LEAD TO SEVERE OUTCOMES?

There is no clear evidence of the severity of Omicron. As per the available data, the rate of hospitalisation has increased in the affected country, South Africa. But WHO also mentioned that it can be due to a surge in the total number of infected people rather than that of a specific variant.

3. ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF OMICRON DIFFERENT FROM OTHER VARIANTS?

Due to the lack of evidence, for now, it can be stated that symptoms associated with Omicron are no different from other variants.

4. WILL VACCINE KEEP YOU SAFE?

WHO and their team are studying the effects of vaccines on Omicron. But it has been advised to get vaccinated to prevent the severity of the infection. The vaccine is one of the most effective tools to help you fight the common Coronavirus variants including Delta.

5. CAN AN RT-PCR TEST DETECT OMICRON?

An RT-PCR test can detect this Covid-19 strain. But the accuracy of rapid antigen detection tests is yet to be determined.

coronavius_647-delta_112921061211.jpgAn RT-PCR test can detect Omicron. Photo: Getty

In a WHO report published on November 26, it has been mentioned that the Omicron variant has a large number of mutations. It also depicts an increased risk of re-infection as compared to other strains.

NOW, THE BIGGER QUESTION: SHOULD INDIA BE WORRIED?

Till now, there are no Omicron cases in India. Travel guidelines have been implemented across the country to avoid the spread. International passengers should fill a self-declaration form and have a negative RT-PCR report upon arrival in India. They must also undergo a mandatory quarantine of 14 days.

In the meantime, follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated.

Writer

Varsha Vats Varsha Vats @varshavats19

Varsha Vats believes in unbiased journalism, and loves writing on health, lifestyle, food, entertainment and anything other than politics. She is a Senior Sub editor at DailyO.

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