S. African specialist says symptoms of Omicron may not differ significantly

A vial and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed stock graph and words “Omicron SARS-CoV-2” in this illustration taken, November 27, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]
CAPE TOWN – South African infectious diseases specialist Richard Lessells has told the parliament’s health committee that symptoms of the Omicron variant are “not likely” to be significantly different.

“This is still a respiratory virus with symptoms characteristic of respiratory viruses. The overall clinical picture will not change significantly even though the genetic code of the virus is changing,” he briefed the Portfolio Committee on Health on Wednesday, according to Thursday’s media statement issued by the parliament.

The specialist also said the new variant possibly causes mild symptoms, as most cases are mild and the majority of cases in younger age groups are mild.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases of South Africa on Wednesday reported 8,561 new COVID-19 cases, sharply increasing from 4,373 cases on the previous day. The positivity rate rose to 16.5 percent from 10.2 percent over the same period, it said.