COVID Alert: New Omicron Variant Symptoms Hit India in 2023


COVID Alert: New Omicron Variant Symptoms Hit India in 2023

Even as India emerges out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fear of COVID variants looms over our heads constantly. Despite successful rounds of vaccination, the nation is still witnessing a steep rise in COVID cases during every change of season. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recorded 36,244 active cases of COVID-19, out of which 272 are recorded in the National Capital itself with a positivity rate of 8.39% and one death. 

This article will elaborate on the risk of new omicron variants and their symptoms you should watch out for in 2023. Read on to learn how to stop the spread of these new variants while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. 

What are the New Variants of COVID in 2023?

Various global health agencies, including WHO, have identified the following new sub-variants of Omicron:

  • XBB.1.16 strain, known as the “Arcturus” variant
  • Sars-COV-2 omicron BF.7

Health and medical research institutes have identified these variants of Omicron through in-depth tests and surveillance. Studies suggest that these variants are probably the reason why several Indian states are witnessing a sharp rise in active COVID cases. 

Now, let’s get into the details of the new omicron variant symptoms and how dangerous these can be in the near future. 

Symptoms of the New Omicron Variants

The newly found Omicron BF.7 strain of COVID-19 has recently caused mayhem in China and has now entered India. The symptoms of the Omicron BF.7 variant include: 

  • Respiratory tract infection, 
  • Fever,  
  • Cough & cold, 
  • Sore throat, 
  • Muscular pain, and
  • Fatigue 

However, you should get diagnosed for Arcturus variant if you’re additionally facing the following eye-flu like symptoms: 

  • Redness in your eye(s).
  • Conjunctivitis: Swelling in the thin layer on the white portion of your eye, called conjunctiva.
  • More wateriness and tears in any of the eyes.
  • Feeling like a foreign matter is there in your eye(s) or an urge to rub

Studies warn us that the Arcturus variant of Omicron poses more harm to the eyes while producing flu-like symptoms. Thus, you should immediately undergo a COVID test if you are experiencing any of these issues. 

Risk Factors of the Arcturus Covid Variant 

In its weekly COVID-19 report on the 20th of April, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the omicron subvariant XBB.1.16, i.e., Arcturus, as the “variant of interest”. Based on the severity of symptoms, WHO classifies coronavirus variants under two categories— 

  • Variants of Concern: These are rapidly transmitted, often leading to a high death rate and community spread. Delta virus and previous variants alpha, beta, and gamma were classified under this category.
  • Variants of Interest: Such variants are less transmissible and less severe than variants of concern. Examples are Eta, Iota, Kappa, and Lambda, and Omicron. 

Although the new Arcturus variant has reported rising numbers in the past few weeks, WHO has yet not confirmed any severity of this new omicron variant symptoms. Thus, it has placed Arcturus in the category of a variant of interest.

Protect Your Family against the Pandemic with Care Covid-19 Coverage 

While most of all the Care Health Insurance policies cover standard COVID-19 hospitalisation expenses, we also offer dedicated COVID-19 coverage. 

At Care Health Insurance, we offer standard coverage of COVID-related hospitalisation and medical treatment with our add-on policy – ‘Covid Care’ (Under Care Senior Policy), and our dedicated COVID policy– ‘Corona Kavach’. Under the policies, we provide standard coverage of hospitalisation expenses related to COVID-19 and daycare treatments. 

Given the rising cost of medical expenses and COVID fear, our policies promise essential protection against virus-related emergencies. 

>> Also Read: Will My Health Insurance Policy Cover Coronavirus?

Concerns About Diagnosis & Vaccination of the New COVID Variants

Given the ongoing COVID fear, we have tried to address common concerns about the new COVID variants, as below:

Can the standard COVID-19 test detect the new variant and its symptoms?

The Director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Matthew Binnicker, opines that it is pretty evident that the prevalent technique for testing for COVID-19 is Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing. The same technique effectively detects the strains of the new  COVID variant. However, while sequencing these viruses, it is crucial to updating the tests to ensure they're still effective in the long term.

Will the currently available vaccines of COVID protect people from the new variant?

About the effectiveness of the current COVID vaccines, Dr. Binnicker suggests that these vaccines will offer a certain level of safeguard against the new variant strains.

Additionally, Dr. Binnicker has stated that Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that are administered mainly in the US will offer a strong defence against the new UK variant. However, in the South African variant, some shreds of evidence hint at a slight decrease in the effectiveness of the current vaccination, which is not more than 10%.

How to Prevent Infection from the New Variant?

The best way to protect yourself from the new variant infection is by ensuring good hygiene, washing hands regularly, ensuring social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding crowded places. 

As we all know, viruses can't mutate without replicating themselves. Hence, it is essential for us to prevent Arcturus and Sars-COV-2 omicron BF.7 viruses from having the chance to replicate—the best way to stop infection. 

Disclaimer: It is important to verify the policy details and coverage with the official policy documents. Also, kindly consult a professional medical expert to verify the details of health concerns.

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