Written by:  dr. Alexandra Francesca Chandra, MRes | Per 7 Jan 2021


OMICRON VARIANT

The Omicron variant is one of the types of COVID-19 virus designated by WHO as a variant of concern (VoC) which spreads very quickly throughout the world. The variant with code B.1.1.529 was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021.

OMICRON CASES IN JAKARTA

It is still too early to understand the real impact of omicron because there is no comprehensive data yet. However, on January 4, 2022, Deputy Governor of DKI Jakarta, Ahmad Riza Patria, announced that Omicron cases in Jakarta reached 252 cases.1 To detect this new variant, the Ministry of Health also plans to bring in 15 genome sequencing machines which will be distributed to various regions in Indonesia.2

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT OMICRON?

Spread of the Omicron COVID-19 Virus

The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is likely to spread faster than the other previous COVID-19 variants. According to the CDC, anyone infected with the Omicron variant can transmit the Omicron variant virus to others, even if they are asymptomatic or have been vaccinated.3

The spread of the Omicron Virus in South Africa is much faster than other variants of the COVID-19 Virus. Resource: HE, Xuemei, et al. SARS‐CoV‐2 Omicron variant: characteristics and prevention. MedComm. 2021; 2: 838-845.4

Severity of the Omicron COVID-19 Virus

  • Based on a study in South Africa, the risk of hospitalization for those infected with omicron variant is lower than that for the previous variants. Also, in hospitalized cases, the risk of developing serious illness is lower than the Delta variant – this may also be due to the high immunity after vaccination.5
  • A UK study found that the rate of hospitalization for Omicron cases were 2/3 times lower than that for Delta, and 3rd dose (booster) vaccine may reduce the risk of symptomatic Omicron infection by up to 57% compared to those who did not receive a booster.6
  • In general, researchers in various parts of the world agree that although typical Omicron cases are generally not as severe as Delta (as seen from fewer hospitalizations compared to the previous Delta wave), the absolute risk of each patient varies depending on several factors, including vaccination status, age, and comorbidities. Thus, it should not be taken lightly since the Omicron variant can also cause death.

Symptoms of Omicron COVID-19

The symptoms of this Omicron variant are similar to those of other COVID-19 variants, although most people can be asymptomatic or experience some mild symptoms that can resolve without hospitalization. Everyone can experience different symptoms from mild to severe, including:3,7,8

  • Most common: sore throat / itching, flu, mild cough
  • Fever / chills / chills
  • Crowded
  • Weak
  • Fever / chills / chills
  • Flu, colds
  • Digestive symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Aches / pains in various parts of the body
  • Loss of the ability to taste and smell

WHAT CAN WE DO?

  • Always stick to the health protocols
  • Receive complete 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine + booster (3rd dose)
  • Should you experience any of the above symptoms, immediately consult a doctor and undergo a PCR examination
  • Do self-isolation or get treatment according to doctor’s instructions

RESOURCES

  1. Singgih Wiryono. Situasi memburuk di Jakarta: Pasien Omicron kini capai 252, kasus aktif COVID-19 meningkat dengan cepat. Kompas: Megapolitan; 05 Jan 2022. Available from: https://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2022/01/05/08512611/situasi-memburuk-di-jakarta-pasien-omicron-kini-capai-252-kasus-aktif?page=all
  2. Update COVID-19: Cegah Omicron, Pemerintah Perketat Karantina. Kemkes: Sehat Negeriku Sehatlah Bangsaku. 27 Des 2021. Available from: https://sehatnegeriku.kemkes.go.id/baca/rilis-media/20211227/0939055/update-covid-19-cegah-omicron-pemerintah-perketat-karantina/
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Omicron variant: what you need to know. 20 Dec 2021. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/omicron-variant.html
  4. HE, Xuemei, et al. SARS‐CoV‐2 Omicron variant: characteristics and prevention. MedComm, 2021.
  5. Wolter N, Jassat W, Walaza S, Welch R, Moultrie H, Groome M, et al. Early assessment of the clinical severity of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in South Africa. medRxiv [Internet]. 2021 Jan 1;2021.12.21.21268116. Available from: http://medrxiv.org/content/early/2021/12/21/2021.12.21.21268116.abstract
  6. Sheikh A, Kerr S, Woolhouse M, McMenamin J, Robertson C. Severity of Omicron variant of concern and vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease: national cohort with nested test negative design study in Scotland. 2021 Dec 22. Available form: https://www.research.ed.ac.uk/en/publications/severity-of-omicron-variant-of-concern-and-vaccine-effectiveness-
  7. Doucleff M. What we know about the symptoms – and the severity – of the omicron variant. 2022 Jan 06. Available from: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/01/06/1070622880/what-we-know-about-the-symptoms-and-the-severity-of-the-omicron-variant

 

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