'Patients showed only mild symptoms': South African doctor who raised 'Omicron' alarm
Pretoria/IBNS: The new covid variant 'Omicron', which has triggered global alarm, has not caused severe Covid-19 in patients so far, according to a South African doctor, who notified the country's authorities about the new strain.
Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, told AFP she had seen around 30 Covid-19 patients over the past 10 days and all of them had unfamiliar symptoms.
"What brought them to the surgery was this extreme tiredness...They also had mild muscle aches, a 'scratchy throat', and a dry cough. Only a few had a slightly high temperature," she was quoted as saying by AFP.
These very mild symptoms were different from other variants, which gave more severe symptoms, she added. Only half of these patients were vaccinated.
She notified the health authorities of a "clinical picture that doesn't fit Delta"
Coetzee said it was unfortunate that Omicron had been hyped as "this extremely dangerous virus variant" with multiple mutations while its virulency was still unknown, stated the AFP report.
"We are not saying that there will not be severe disease coming forward," Coetzee said.
But "for now, even the patients that we have seen who are not vaccinated have mild symptoms".
"I'm quite sure... a lot of people in Europe already have this virus," she remarked.
Nearly three-fourths of the Covid-19 cases reported in South Africa in recent days have been identified as Omicron, official statistics show.
Countries like Australia, Italy, the UK and Belgium have detected patients with the new variant.
"We will see a rise in cases," Coetzee warned.
South Africa is the worst-hit in Africa and its daily Covid positivity rate jumped from 3.6 percent on Wednesday to 9.2 percent on Saturday.