Take a deep breath. We can all relax just a little right now as COVID-19 cases plunge. We haven’t seen levels like these since fall and – in some areas – since last summer.
But as much as I want the pandemic to be over … and I want to trash my mask (or BURN it) … there’s still a note of caution in the numbers.
Don’t worry. We’re not going to need to go back into lockdown. And you won’t have to start washing the mail or hoarding toilet paper again.
But we DO need to be ready for climbing numbers… just in case.
Because the thing we all fear could be bubbling just beneath the surface, right now. Stealth omicron may be making a move soon. And only time will tell.
“Stealth omicron” cases are climbing
Yes, my friend, there’s another possible COVID-19 variant out there. And a series of new reports suggest it has slightly different symptoms from what we’re all used to at this point.
It hasn’t been given its own Greek letter name yet, so it’s being called stealth omicron. And while we can’t say for sure if this “stealth” variant turns into the next big worry, some of the early signs are worth paying attention to.
First, the plunge in cases we’ve been enjoying may be starting to level off and reach a plateau.
Cases ARE lower overall. But they’re by no means low. And they’re nowhere NEAR as low as they were in May and June of 2021 when the original coronavirus strain was on the run, and no one had ever even heard of delta or omicron.
And second, some places in the world ARE starting to see increases again. And that includes areas that have proven to be good indicators in the past of what will happen next here in the United States.
For example, in the U.K., Germany, Switzerland, and several other places in Europe, COVID cases currently aren’t dropping anymore. They’re rising.
New symptoms to look for
Some experts believe the rising COVID-19 numbers signify that the vaccine efficacy is waning. But others think it’s also because of this new BA.2 variant… better known as stealth omicron.
This variant reportedly moves faster and can be harder to detect. And while stealth omicron can have all of the usual symptoms we’ve got memorized by now, health officials say it can also have two others:
Fatigue did come up fairly often in the initial reports of the “original” omicron, especially in South Africa, where some patients reported fatigue and nothing else. But dizziness hasn’t been commonly reported in coronavirus cases.
There are also reports of more digestive issues, including diarrhea and heartburn with stealth omicron.
Now my purpose for sharing this information today isn’t to alarm you. In fact, I firmly believe everyone SHOULD be safely enjoying our lower cases counts right now. Stealth omicron is simply something to be aware of.
And if you’re at higher risk because of your age, other illnesses, or a weakened immune system, you don’t need to hide at home either. As long as your doctor says you’re healthy enough to be out and about, go right ahead.
But we ALL should continue to use the common-sense precautions we’ve learned can help reduce our risks of catching COVID. They will do the same for stealth omicron.
Avoid crowds when you can. Keep your mask handy to use whenever you can’t. Keep an eye on the local case numbers. And if you haven’t been vaccinated or boosted yet, please consider rolling up your sleeve and getting started.
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