Omicron COVID Variant: All You Need to Know

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      Just when people were finally easing into life with COVID-19 vaccines, a new variant of the coronavirus called ‘omicron’ has surfaced. Since the omicron cases in the world have multiplied exponentially in two weeks, let’s learn everything about this new COVID variant.

      What is Omicron COVID Variant?

      Omicron is a new variant of coronavirus that has been recently discovered in South Africa. It consists of more than 30 mutations on its spike protein and therefore, is believed to be more contagious than the previous COVID variants, such as Delta, Alpha, Beta, etc.

      As a consequence, omicron has been declared as the ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 26 November 2021.

      However, medical experts consider it too early to come to any solid conclusion as to the severity, transmissibility, and reinfection risk of the omicron variant. Doubts are also being raised over the effectiveness of the various COVID-19 vaccines on the new variant. The good news is that the research is already underway and we will find answers to the behavior and implications of omicron soon.

      Symptoms of Omicron COVID Variant

      As per the initial analysis, the symptoms of the omicron variant are similar to the symptoms of other COVID variants. However, most people diagnosed with the omicron variant does not show flu-like symptoms, such as high fever, loss of taste and smell, etc., as in the case of previous COVID variants. Instead, the following are the most common symptoms of the omicron variant of the coronavirus:

      • Scratchy/ sore throat
      • Extreme fatigue (irrespective of the age of the person)
      • Headache
      • Back pain
      • Body ache
      • Weakness

      Is Omicron Variant More Contagious than Other COVID Variants?

      At present, nobody can say for sure if omicron is more contagious than the other discovered variants of coronavirus. The variant has been recently discovered and the research is still going on.

      But given the high number of mutations on the spike protein of the new variant, it is expected to be more infectious than the previous COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant. Besides, the way the omicron variant has spread to more than 40 countries, including India, in about two weeks does paint a similar picture.

      However, doctors in South Africa have described the symptoms of the omicron variant as extremely mild. They have claimed that most of the patients in South Africa have recovered without the need for hospitalization.

      Nonetheless, it is advisable for everyone to stay covered under a coronavirus health insurance policy to deal with any unforeseen medical expenses resulting from testing positive for the omicron variant.

      What to Do If You Develop Symptoms of Omicron COVID Variant?

      In case you or any of your family members develop symptoms of the omicron variant of coronavirus, the following tips can be followed:

      • Immediately isolate yourself and get a COVID test done
      • If tested positive, go for a 14-day quarantine
      • Seek online consultation from a doctor to start the treatment
      • Make sure to quarantine in a well-ventilated place
      • Soak in the sun in the morning hours
      • Practice breathing exercises
      • Take all your medicines on time

      In case the illness gets severe, you must immediately get admitted to a hospital. Since hospitalization expenses are increasing perpetually, it would be wiser to have a health insurance policy and let your insurer pay your hospital bill. This is especially necessary for people with comorbidities as their treatment costs can go really high.

      You can either buy a regular health insurance plan or go for a customized coronavirus health insurance plan, like Corona Rakshak or Corona Kavach plans, to avail coverage against all variants of COVID-19, including the omicron variant.

      Do Existing Health Insurance Plans Cover Omicron Variant?

      Yes. The omicron COVID variant is covered by all existing health insurance plans in India without any additional waiting period. This is because COVID-19 is covered by all existing medical insurance plans and omicron is only a variant of the disease.

      Hence, you can avail coverage under your ongoing health insurance policy if you are diagnosed with the omicron variant of coronavirus.

      Tips to Protect Against Omicron COVID Variant

      Precaution is always better than cure. So, it is better to take all necessary precautions to avoid getting diagnosed with the omicron COVID variant in the first place. Follow the prevention tips given below to protect yourself against the new omicron variant:

      • Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth every time you step outside the house
      • Follow social distancing of at least 6 feet from other people
      • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially before touching your face
      • Avoid going to crowded or poor ventilated places
      • Get fully vaccinated against COVID-19
      • Make sure to clean your hands while wearing or removing a mask
      • Open windows to improve the ventilation in a room
      • Carry a sanitizer and use it to clean your hands at places where you cannot wash them
      • Sanitize frequently touched areas

      In a Nutshell

      The new omicron COVID variant is a reminder that the coronavirus is here to stay. Therefore, it is essential for everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and take all necessary precautions to prevent getting diagnosed with the disease. Besides, watch out for the symptoms of the omicron variant and isolate yourself as soon as you are tested positive with the virus.

      Finally, do not forget to buy a coronavirus health insurance policy to deal with sudden medical expenses arising out of the omicron variant of the COVID-19.

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