Omicron sub-variant discussed by infectious disease expert
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After a sustained wave, the UK’s chief medical officers have downgraded the COVID-19 alert level to level 2. The downgrade reflects the ebbing tide of cases. However, new data released by the ONS is a stark reminder that the UK should not become complacent about new variants. The latest figures show 34 percent of all existing long Covid patients developed their symptoms after catching COVID-19 during the era of the Omicron variant. Data also revealed the most prevalent long Covid symptom – and it’s particularly noticeable in the morning.
Summarising the ONS findings, the leading testing expert, Doctor Quinton Fivelman PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at London Medical Laboratory, drew attention to the most “common” symptom of long Covid still being reported.
According to Doctor Fivelman, “chronic fatigue continued to be the most common issue (62 percent)”.
What is chronic fatigue? Nearly everyone is overtired or overworked from time to time. Such instances of temporary fatigue usually have an identifiable cause and a likely remedy
However, as the Mayo Clinic puts it, chronic fatigue is “unrelenting exhaustion” that “lasts longer, is more profound and isn’t relieved by rest”.
A simple way to spot it is to pay attention to how you feel when waking up in the morning. If a good night’s rest does not abate your tiredness, you could have the long Covid symptom.
The ONS data also found chronic fatigue was followed by shortness of breath (37 percent), difficulty concentrating (33 percent) and muscle ache (31 percent).
What else did the study reveal?
Doctor Fivelman said: “Looking at these figures, though 45 percent of long Covid patients developed their symptoms at least one year previously, a worrying 253,000 (13 percent) reported they first caught COVID-19 less than 12 weeks previously. However, they have already developed long Covid symptoms significantly impacting their health and lives.
“To put the numbers into focus, 29 percent of long Covid sufferers reported they first had Covid before the first wave of Alpha became the main variant; 256,000 (13 percent) during the Alpha period; 386,000 (19 percent) during the Delta period and a significant 681,000 (34 percent) during the Omicron period.”
The doc added: “Anyone thinking that Omicron variants are less likely to result in long Covid than previous Covid strains must think again.”
The latest figures also reveal that you are more likely to develop long Covid if you are aged 35 to 69 years, a female and/or live in a more deprived area.
The figures provide further evidence that “Covid may remain active in our bodies, in areas such as the gut, for extended periods of time, potentially causing a long-term, low-grade infection”, added Doctor Fivelman.
“This could well be the cause of long Covid. For this reason, at the beginning of June, London Medical Laboratory called for the Government to urgently consider vaccinating everyone over 50 this autumn. We are delighted it agreed to do this.”
However, the doc went on to say, “the Government must also ensure that all the top-up jabs administered are the latest versions ordered, which provide greater immunity to Omicron variants.
“Now we know the true scale of long Covid caused by Omicron, we should not continue using older vaccines that do little to combat the spread of Omicron, even if they do help reduce the severity of its initial symptoms.
“Clearly, Covid still possesses the power to disrupt our lives and places a huge burden on an already struggling NHS and fragile British economy. We are very worried about what lies ahead as we enter the colder winter months.
“If anyone is concerned about their own immune response to the jabs and how well they continue to produce antibodies, the new generation blood tests available from London Medical Laboratory are highly accurate, quick and simple to carry out, either at home through the post, or at one of the many drop-in clinics that offer this test across London and nationwide”.
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