As the world begins to panic over the omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus, a doctor in South Africa says that its symptoms are mild.
Dr. Angelique Coetzee, president of the South African Medical Association and the first to warn of the new coronavirus variant, assures that infected patients have presented very mild symptoms.
” What we are seeing now in South Africa, and remember that I am at the epicenter, is exceptionally mild, and we have not hospitalized anyone yet. I have spoken with other colleagues and the picture is the same.”
The first patient with the Omicron variant seen by Dr. Coetzee on November 18 was a 30-year-old who had a slight headache, and a sore throat, she described it more as an itch, no cough, no loss of taste or smell.
The patient and his relatives tested positive for COVID-19, but all had “very, very mild” symptoms. After seeing more patients with these characteristics that did not fit the delta variant, Coetzee alerted the Ministry of Health’s vaccine advisory committee.
On Wednesday, the South African authorities reported the new variant to the World Health Organization (WHO), which declared it a ” variant of concern ” on Friday. However, this Sunday night, the international organization updated the available information and pointed out that the level of transmissibility is still unknown.
“Epidemiological studies continue, and although the level of infections is high in South Africa, it is too early to determine its virulence,” they explain.