Is Omicron a Threat to the Health of Oregonians?

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When Omicron was first discovered, scientists were undoubtedly alarmed for not only was it starkly different from the previous variants, it was also much more infectious, 

However, it has taken not too long ago to determine exactly what sets apart someone with an omicron variant from the rest. With record-high infection rates growing daily all over the US, health experts have concluded that Omicron is less likely to cause serious illness or life-threatening symptoms. 

A preliminary study conducted by scientists at Case Western Reserve University concluded that the risk of being admitted to the ICU as the omicron variant runs its course is about 50% of the risk we have seen when the delta variant was rampant. 


Dr. Brendan Carr, chair of emergency medicine for the Mount Sinai Health System, commented that while emergency rooms are busier than anticipated, many of the COVID-positive individuals do not warrant being admitted. 

However, just like with any variant of the SARS-CoV-2, individual risk depends on many factors which include age, overall health, economic situation, and of course whether you’ve had your vaccination and boosters.

Dr. Pamel Davis, a pulmonologist at Case Western Reserve University, warns that while it may be less severe for the general population, we must not be complacent. She emphasized that for the aged population, omicron is still “a nasty disease” though lesser than the delta variant.  

To further drive the point, World Health Organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned that while omicron is less severe than delta, in no way is it categorized as mild. He went on to say that just like previous variants, omicron is still hospitalizing and killing people.

If omicron is different from the variants that came before, what are the symptoms? Similar to the other variants, omicron has a mix of symptoms that subside pretty quickly and does not warrant immediate hospitalization. They usually exhibit themselves as ordinary upper respiratory infections or in simple terms, a common cold. Runny noses, sore throats, and nasal congestion, mild coughing, and fever if any, are the most common.

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If you are infected with the omicron variant, the symptoms will develop in as short as three days after contraction.  Loss of smell and taste, tell-tale signs for earlier variants, are not as common with omicron. 

If you do get hospitalized, doctors observed that many patients are neither having trouble breathing nor dealing with dangerously low oxygen levels. Health experts continue to assert that it was very rare for vaccinated and boosted individuals to get seriously ill. The usual cause for when a patient is tipping over the edge is because of some underlying condition such as diabetes or heart failure.


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