The plummeting cases of omicron, along with the onset of winter wave, have created various confusions related to Covid-19 caused by the omicron variant and the common cold, accounting for the similarities in its symptoms. These series of events have also been instrumental in breeding false information over various social media platforms underestimating the intensity of the virus that has caused the pandemic. The major one is the misunderstanding of omicron as one of the strains of the virus causing seasonal flu.
The Common Cold Virus Different From Omicron Variant
A Facebook post made on the 27th of December goes like omicron is the common-cold person. Similar others are made on Facebook and Twitter too.
Omicron variant is not identical with the virus causing the common cold
Dr. Charles Chiu, an infectious disease specialist, warned not to integrate the omicron variant into one of the viruses causing the common cold. Both the pathogens for both diseases are completely different. The common cold is caused by a human coronavirus, rhinoviruses being the main culprit. At the same time, Covid-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is a form of coronavirus that emerged back in 2019. All of the variants of Covid-19 discovered so far are genetically distinct. The illness associated with omicron is considerably milder than the delta variant. There are a rising number of deaths and hospitalizations being reported daily.
The common symptoms that often mislead
The symptoms for both diseases have a common ground with the runny nose, congestion, cough, fatigue, headaches, etc. These common symptoms often mislead people to distinguish between both the diseases and at times, delay the process of treatment. This was confirmed from the analysis of a study done in London, where half of the population reporting the above-mentioned symptoms tested positive for Covid-19. Still, there are several pieces of research going on to find out the actual nature, efficiency of the omicron variant and to monitor the real-time evidence.
However, there are findings suggesting that at least one of the mutations, a small portion of the genetic material in omicron might have been picked from the one causing common cold in humans, known as HCoV-229E, present in the same infected cell, in an attempt to camouflage with the immune system.
The scientists concerned about the further destruction it might cause have requested the British government to incorporate increased symptoms in their public health policy related to the pandemic and Covid-19.
The difference in intensity of both the diseases
The Covid-19 is more dangerous in terms of severity, causing fatal illness, crowding the Intensive Care Units of the hospitals in the US, and new hospitalizations rising each day. Starting from mild to moderate symptoms, it has caused more than 800,000 deaths in America, showcasing the lethality it contains.
On the other hand, the common cold would develop mild symptoms causing an illness lasting up to 10 -15 days and can be cured well with home remedies without the need for any professional medical attention. But it is very rare for people dying due to a common cold who might be in vulnerable conditions themselves.
In the sense of relief, it has been predicted that the omicron would not last for a longer duration of time, accounting for its highly contagious nature, and hopefully, the vaccinated population would be less vulnerable to the virus as compared to the unvaccinated population. The symptoms developed in the vaccinated ones would be just moderate, similar to the upper respiratory infection, which is unlikely to prove lethal, according to Dr. George Rutherford, an infectious disease expert.
The pandemic itself has necessitated the very need for the authenticity of the information. The misinformation like this can cost many lives burdening the already crippled health care systems.
With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.