Omicron Variation: What Are the Symptoms?

If it weren’t for the rapid antigen test coming home from school, Mirna Alassaad would never have suspected that her 17-year-old son had COVID-19.

“He just wanted to check how it worked,” she told in a phone interview on Tuesday. “We don’t think, not even one percent, that he can have [COVID-19]. ”

Alassaad explained that her son had not had any of the usual signs of COVID-19, including fever, cough, fatigue and loss of taste or smell. All he had at the time was a runny nose, she said.

After her son received a positive result using two different rapid tests, Alassaad said she, her husband and their four children had to live in isolation. A few days later, on December 12, Alassaad said she and her husband began experiencing symptoms including a stuffy nose, fever, headache, sore throat, and body fatigue.

Her children also started experiencing symptoms at that point, although they mostly just had a fever and felt tired, she said.

“It’s not serious, it’s like a regular flu,” Alassaad said of his own symptoms. “We have known several other people with COVID and they are healthy [with] mild symptoms. We were hoping that we would too. “

On December 14, all six family members went for lab tests and the next day, the results showed – all tested positive for the Omicron variant. One thing Alassaad said she noticed was how quickly different family members developed their symptoms.

“Four of the family members started showing symptoms at the same time, so the spread was very fast in the home,” she said.

However, she describes her family’s symptoms as mild. She was told by her regional public health unit that this occurred because all eligible members were fully vaccinated. Alassaad said no one in the family had an underlying health condition.

Now, she said her family is doing better. Her children are no longer tired or feverish, and the only thing that she and her husband are still facing are occasional dry coughs.


Alassaad was just one of those who wrote to to share that they had recently been diagnosed with COVID-19. The number of cases across Canada has increased rapidly over the past few weeks. Yesterday alone, the country saw its highest number of daily reported cases in a single day with more than 10,600 infections, according to data compiled by

Driving much of this spread is the new Omicron variant, which has been shown to be highly transmissible. Although it was first detected in November, the rapid rate of transmission in the community leads experts to believe that it will soon overtake Delta as the most dominant variant in various countries around the world. Global.

Although many of the people who shared their stories with said they were not told whether they had the specific variant of Omicron, each described experiencing a similar set of symptoms. .

In an email to, Mitch Soiffer said he started developing a cough a few days after arriving in New York City from Montreal on December 12. Soon after, he developed a headache and body fatigue. . by chills. Almost a week after arriving in New York, he said he had received confirmation that he had tested positive for Omicron.

While he says he still feels tired, he has no breathing problems. The 39-year-old also said he had received two doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Karina Panasci said she tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to the virus through her significant other’s colleagues. She said she was only in contact with them for about 10 to 15 minutes and stood about 6 feet away.

About five days later, after a trip to the gym, she said she started experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

“I have a headache, I feel nauseous and my whole body aches,” she wrote in an email to “I just don’t feel like myself.”

The next day, after finding out that her key colleagues had tested positive for the virus, Panasci said she went to get tested herself. The results showed her positive, while her significant other tested negative. Before that, she received two doses of the vaccine, she said.

Panasci said the next few days had symptoms such as cough, stuffy nose and headache, but all were manageable. On December 17, she said she had lost her sense of taste and smell, which she was still processing, although the cough and congestion had eased. This, while her significant other continues to be symptom-free.

“He’s going to get tested again this weekend but so far, [it] it doesn’t look like he ever had [COVID-19], it was crazy that he spent the day with them in the office, drove home with them in the car, and stayed with them in our house for over 30 minutes,” she wrote. “COVID is weird.”

Marc Rivest, based in Vancouver, said he recently tested positive for COVID-19 and described the symptoms as “extremely mild”.

“I had a cold that made me sicker,” he wrote to in an email.

The first day of symptoms included fever, chills, fatigue, and night sweats. By day five, Rivest said he had a cough, blocked ears and sneezing. By then, his taste buds also began to waver.

Despite doing a quick antigen test and getting negative results, meanwhile, Tanya Hickey started showing symptoms on December 12, she told via email. It started with a pressure in the sinuses before developing into “significant” facial pain, along with earaches and sneezing, she said.

A few days after experiencing the first symptoms, she said she started feeling feverish and had a dry cough. These symptoms then eased for a short time before she noticed she couldn’t smell. Hickey said on December 16, she did a PCR test and the preliminary results came back positive.

Since then, her sense of smell has returned and there is still a slight tingling sensation on her cheek in place of the pain in her face, she said. Nor did she experience such congestion. She plans to do another PCR test and so do her two children. All three have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Hickey said.

“If I hadn’t tested myself regularly, I could have spread the virus in public,” she said.

Beth Denniss also shared her symptoms began on December 11, including headache, cough and fatigue. Then she developed a fever and body aches because her chest became sore after the coughing spells. Mother noted that the baby was also vaccinated with double vaccines.

“It’s scary that we follow all the protocols and wash our hands often,” she wrote in a direct message on Twitter.


Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease expert and lecturer at the University of Toronto, explained that it is still too early to know if Omicron leads to more or less severe infections than other COVID-19 variants. or not.

“I don’t know,” he told in a phone interview on Monday. “We only know this variant has been around for a month, and if we really want to get a reasonable look at the symptom profile, it needs to be done in a much more empirical way.”

According to a recent study from the UK, cold-like symptoms are considered to be more common in people infected with the Omicron variant. Research shows that the top 5 symptoms of Omicron are runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and sore throat. Unlike other strains of the virus, symptoms of fever, cough and loss of smell are not common, according to the study.

But Bogoch insists what should be considered is not necessarily the type of symptoms, but their severity.

“The individual symptoms are quite non-descriptive for a respiratory viral infection – fever, cough, shortness of breath, sometimes abdominal pain, sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms, sometimes rash,” he said. “It’s the severity of the symptoms.”

The World Health Organization’s technical lead on COVID-19, Dr Maria van Kerkhove, provided a recent update on the severity of the Omicron variant, saying it was “early early to know if Omicron will be.” severe or not, but we have some early reports that it is less severe. ”

This is in line with what some health professionals have noticed in South Africa. However, other experts, such as the head of Ontario’s Scientific Advisory Board, Peter Juni, have said that the idea that Omicrons cause milder disease is “a myth”.

Overall, Bogoch points out that more experiments and real-world data analysis are needed to properly answer the question. This includes looking at vulnerable populations and how Omicrons may differently impact their health.

“These are all answerable questions,” says Bogoch. “I think we’ll have some more answers in the coming days and weeks.”


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