At the beginning of 2022, many people worldwide became alarmed about a subvariant of the highly contagious COVID-19 omicron variant called BA.2, which is often referred to as the “stealth omicron.” This omicron variant appears to be taking over in some countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and Denmark.
With the lifting of the mask requirements and social distancing in many Asian countries like Singapore, many people have already been trying to live the “new normal.” However, there are still several reasons to remain cautious, one of which is the looming threat of stealth omicron. To learn more about this highly transmissible COVID-19 subvariant, here is some essential information about the stealth omicron.
1. It is more contagious but less severe
The BA.2 omicron variant is a modified version of the BA.1 variant. This original omicron lineage still accounts for about 98% of COVID-19 cases worldwide.
However, in Denmark, the BA.2 or stealth omicron strain is reported to have already become the dominant subvariant of COVID-19 since the second week of January. According to many experts, there are indications that stealth omicron is 30% to 60% more contagious, especially for the unvaccinated.
However, fortunately, there are also reports indicating that the BA.2 variant isn’t more virulent when it comes to causing more severe disease. In an investigation conducted by the UK Health Security Agency last January, it was reported that there’s currently no sufficient evidence to say that the stealth omicron causes more severe illnesses.
2. Its most common symptom is sore throat
Compared to the other variants of COVID-19, stealth omicron has been reported to cause more cases of sore throat and pharyngitis. Hence, the most common symptom of this omicron variant is a sore throat. Some of the other symptoms experienced by patients are pretty similar to the different strains of COVID-19, such as respiratory symptoms and febrile illness.
In some cases, patients with stealth omicron can also experience gastrointestinal symptoms, such as loss of taste or smell and diarrhoea. However, these cases become somewhat fewer with the newer variants.
Suppose you are experiencing these symptoms, along with body aches, headache, vomiting or nausea, and nasal congestion. In that case, you should book an online medical consultation right away, as you may have gotten the BA.2 variant.
3. Vaccines and booster shots still work
Current data indicates that the available COVID-19 vaccines, such as Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen, protect against the BA.1 and BA.2 variants of omicron. No data suggests that these vaccines don’t work against the current circulation COVID-19 variants. Hence, medical experts recommend that everyone get their primary series of vaccines and booster shots accordingly.
Getting a second booster is highly advised, especially for those over 50 years old or with a compromised immune system. If you fall under any of these classifications, you’re eligible for another mRNA booster to boost your protection against severe illness from COVID-19. While stealth omicron is more infectious than original omicron, existing vaccines can protect you from this highly contagious variant.
There’s a cause for concern regarding the BA.2 variant of omicron, mainly because it’s so contagious. However, considering it’s less severe than the other COVID-19 variants, there is relatively less reason for you to worry about critical illness and death. To ensure you’re protected from stealth omicron and the other strains of COVID-19, don’t hesitate to get your vaccines and booster shots now.
If you’re currently experiencing the common symptoms of COVID-19, you should take a tele-ART test in Singapore immediately. For a reliable, MOH-approved COVID tests conducted remotely, MyCLNQ is the best telemedicine app you can count on!
In just a few clicks in the app, you can already access a virtual ART test in Singapore and other medical services you may need, such as online medical consultations and private ambulances, at the convenience of your home.