What’s the difference between COVID strains?


FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – Some experts are saying it’s a guarantee, we’re all going to catch omicron.

But what’s the difference between omicron, delta, and the first strain we saw?

“Most of the cases in the community are omicron. We are presuming every new case that comes in at this time is omicron,” says Sanford Health’s Dr. Avish Nagpal, an infectious disease physician.

Both delta and omicron are COVID. But the difference between them is just a few modifications of the spike protein on the virus. Dr. Nagpal says that’s led to a big difference in transmissibility.

“Instead of the virus infecting 4 other people, 5 other people, or 6 other people. What we’re seeing is one person is infecting 10 more people and 10 more people,” says Dr. Nagpal.

Some are experiencing all of the symptoms, which can be different than those of delta.

“I had 102.4 fever, body aches, headache, stuffy nose, sneezing, congestion, coughing, just about every symptom you can think of,” says Lisa Speer who is still recovering from a case of COVID.

Others don’t have it as bad.

“I had a persistent cough, felt kind of icky, that’s about it,” says Aaron Southard who recently recovered from COVID.

Speer is fully vaccinated. She’s also received infusions. But says this round is far worse than when she first had the virus in 2020.

“I just felt like I had a little cold. I was actually at work. I made a sandwich and I was like hmm I can’t taste my mustard,” says Speer.

Southard is also fully vaccinated and hasn’t had COVID before.

“I was mostly just extremely tired,” says Southard.

Dr. Nagpal says the vaccine doesn’t protect as well against omicron’s milder symptoms.

“The vaccine still offers significant protection against complications including hospitalization, respiratory rate, respiratory failure, or death”

And the end may not be in sight.

“There is so much COVID going around right now. Basically, every city, every town, in every country on the planet has it. It’s not possible to eliminate it anymore”

New mutations could make future strains escape immunity, and it could be even more severe and transmissible.

“If any of that happens, it will be labeled as a virus of high clinical significance. Fortunately, we have not had that yet. I hope we don’t get to see it,” says Dr. Nagpal.

Testing sites have been overwhelmed this week and at-home tests are hard to come by. If you think you have COVID, call your doctor.

Copyright 2022 KVLY. All rights reserved.



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