Fast Five Quiz: COVID-19 Omicron Variant

Michael Stuart Bronze, MD


September 20, 2022

The Omicron variant appears to be associated with less severe disease compared with other variants. However, Omicron emerged after widespread vaccination and previous infections that may contribute to less severe outcomes as a result of acquired immunity. Nevertheless, studies have shown that the odds of hospitalization in individuals infected with the Omicron variant are 25% lower compared with the Delta variant. Reports from China, South Africa, France, Korea, and other countries have all corroborated the attenuated pathogenicity of the Omicron variant compared with that of other variants of concern.

Although the rate of severe illness is reduced in the general population, COVID-19 resulting from infection with an Omicron strain remains a dangerous illness; not only can it cause symptoms (eg, brain fog, fatigue, headache, and loss of taste or smell) or health risks (eg, venous thromboembolism and diabetes) that persist for months or years in some patients (long COVID), but it also remains a major acute health risk for older adults, immunocompromised persons, and those with limited or no acquired immunity. The vastly higher volume of new infections resulting from increased transmissibility with novel variants continues to present a challenge to healthcare systems worldwide.

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