“There is no reason to test if you have no symptoms,” and two more surprising statements from a South African doctor helped identify omicron

Notably, Coetzee suggested that asymptomatic cases of the omicron variant are rare, if such a condition exists.

When asked in a Christmas Eve interview on MSNBC if she had intended to indicate that “there was no asymptomatic case of omicron,” Coetzee replied: ” We did not see him “.

Read: Experts say take a quick COVID-19 test right before a holiday rally

Second, the private practitioner and president of the South African Medical Association told MSNBC on Friday that she does not recommend rapid antigen testing for individuals until, and if, symptoms arise from the variant, but rapid tests will identify or confirm cases in those with symptoms. “There’s no reason to test if you don’t have symptoms,” she said.

The doctor said that based on his experience with the omicron strain, the rapid test will only work “if you have positive symptoms of omicron.”

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Coetzee, in the past, has been widely cited as saying that cases of omicron differ from those from other variants, including the recently dominant delta variant, because cases are more mild and manifest differently.

Third, Coetzee said his findings suggest that omicron attacks the musculoskeletal system initially and that symptoms, when they appear, affect muscles, bones, joints and ligaments and could be described as pain by sufferers, rather than the top type. -respiratory response that affects the nose and throat, which has been most commonly associated with previous viral iterations.

“Rapid tests, if they are positive after 6 p.m. you can believe it. They’re very, very – they’re a good source to use.

– Dr Angélique Coetzee

“So people will tell us they went to bed last night [and say that] they were hot and cold during the night ”, then wake up with a headache,“ aches and pains, chest pain or back pain and fatigue – it’s omicron, ”she said told MSNBC.

“If you have that, wait about six o’clock, go test. Rapid tests, if they are positive after 6 p.m. you can believe it. They’re very, very – they’re a good source to use, ”she said.

Coetzee’s remarks come as several major airlines, including Delta Air Lines DAL,
+ 0.43%,
United Airlines UAL,
+ 0.67%
and JetBlue Airways Corp. JBLU,
+ 0.20%,
as well as the German Lufthansa LHA, have canceled hundreds of flights due to crew illnesses attributed to the omicron variant.

These cancellations come as coronavirus infections fueled by the new variant further reduce staff at hospitals, police departments, supermarkets and other critical operations struggling to maintain full contingents of frontline workers.

Even still, the United States said on Friday it would lift restrictions imposed last month when the virus was first identified in eight southern African countries on New Years Eve, the White House said.

The November 29 ban banned nearly all non-U.S. Citizens who had recently visited South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

Last month, the World Health Organization named omicron as a variant of concern because of the high number of mutations in the spike protein, which is the target site for most treatments and vaccines.

In the United States, omicron accounted for 73% of new household infections in the week through December 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, down from just 13% the week before.

Coronavirus Update: South Africa offers grounds for cautious optimism over omicron variant, and Israel deploys fourth dose of vaccine for vulnerable groups

Coetzee, meanwhile, described the treatments for the omicron variant as “fairly easy,” speaking in a separate interview with The Times of India on Tuesday.

“We start immediately after diagnosis with low dose cortisone and something like ibuprofen to help relieve muscle pain and headaches, and that’s it. This is what we give. There is nothing else. There is no oxygen, not even antibiotics needed, ”she was quoted by the publication.

Beyond canceled flights, the spread of omicron is causing headaches among offices, schools and universities that hope to stay open after the holidays, nearly two years after the start of the COVID pandemic.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden said the administration was preparing to distribute 500 million free home rapid tests starting in January, among other initiatives to curb the spread of the virus.

Despite the canceled events, long test lines and an anxious national mood, Biden said on Tuesday that the current timing is fundamentally different from the first days of the pandemic in March 2020. “In the end, it’s much better than ‘before, but we are taking even more steps to facilitate testing and get tested for free, ”said the president.

Financial markets slowly rocked fears centered on the spread of this latest strain of coronavirus, with the S&P 500 SPX,
+ 0.62%
recording Friday its 68th closing record of 2021 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
+ 0.55%
and the Nasdaq Composite COMP,
+ 0.85%
marking their third consecutive gain, after anxiety over the virus caused the stock market to plummet on Monday.

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