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Omicron variant comes with shift in symptoms

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 6:42 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - When it comes to the omicron variant, Baptist infectious disease expert, Dr. Steve Threlkeld, says a person is twice as likely or more to get infected from being around someone with omicron.

He says people who are vaccinated are getting infected but are experiencing mild symptoms, and avoiding hospitalization for the most part.

“You’re still in the 70 percent effectiveness against symptomatic infection if you’ve been boosted, particularly, but you really dip down into the 30 plus percent effectiveness against symptomatic infection if you haven’t been boosted and it’s been a while since you’ve been vaccinated,” Threlkeld said.

Threlkeld says the good thing is omicron does not appear to be as deadly as previous variants.

As for symptoms, he says there’s a shift.

“I’ve seen less in the way of taste and smell problems. They, typically in vaccinated people, have been really a little bit of a sore throat and some nasal congestion that lasts variably maybe two or three days. That said, some of the people have been fairly sick with significant fevers and they felt really bad,” Threlkeld said.

Threlkeld went on to say the worry with a very contagious variant is the impacts it can have on three major groups.

“Those who are unvaccinated, or maybe the elderly who were vaccinated long ago and haven’t been boosted, or certainly people who are immune-suppressed and can’t get that protection, try though they might. Those are the people who are going to be at risk for being hospitalized and having bad outcomes,” Threlkeld said.

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