ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A lot of people are asking if the symptoms of the omicron variant of the COVID virus are different. The World Health Organization reports that there is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with omicron are different from other variants. 

The most common early symptoms are a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and a sore throat, research out of the U.K. found. These omicron symptoms often feel like a cold, but there could also be coughing and flu-like symptoms, including fever and body aches.

Your age, vaccination status, overall health, can impact how long the symptoms will stick around. For some people with especially mild COVID cases, these symptoms resolve in as little as five days, allowing them to end isolation.

CDC’s COVID symptom list:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reports the lowest total of new patients since December.  It’s only the fourth time in two weeks that less than 200 people were admitted in a single day.  The strain of the omicron surge is still being felt in area hospitals, however, as total patient hospitalizations today reached another all-time high at 1,449 people.

The current surge in virus cases in Missouri driven by the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant is straining hospital capacity and making it difficult to transfer patients to larger hospitals. Virus hospitalizations have risen sharply across Missouri in recent weeks.

Scientists warn that omicron’s whirlwind spread across the globe practically ensures it won’t be the last worrisome coronavirus variant. Every infection provides a chance for the virus to mutate, and research shows that omicron is at least twice as contagious as delta and at least four times as contagious as the original version of the virus. That means more people in whom the virus can further evolve.

Experts don’t know how the next variants might shape the pandemic, and they say there’s no guarantee the sequels of omicron will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them. So they urge wider vaccination now while today’s shots are still effective.