COVID continues to produce new variants, with Omicron being the most recent to produce a slew of subvariants.
As two new subvariants of Omicron reach the US, professor Tim Spector, co-found of UK’s ZOE Covid Study app, says there are two Covid symptoms to take “really seriously.”
The development of new Covid strains serves as a strong reminder that the United States is currently in the midst of the pandemic. The Omicron strain is still mutating, and two new sub-lineages have been identified in the United States. Professor Tim Spector, the head of the ZOE Covid Study app, updated us on BA.4 and BA.5, two novel Omicron subvariants, in his most recent YouTube video.
The US is not yet seeing “worrying levels” of the variants.
The number of newly found subvariants in the United States remains small; ten cases of BA.4 and four cases of BA.5 have been documented. However, if they are more transmissible than the reigning champion BA.2, they may spread quickly.
“But it’s only a small proportion of current levels. BA.2 accounts for the vast majority of cases reported.”
BA.2 was the first Omicron subvariant to succeed its predecessor.
Although BA.4 and BA.5 may not cause immediate alarm, Prof Spector warned that “we are keeping an eye on this because South Africa – where Omicron was first picked up – is seeing BA.4 and BA.5 increasing quite fast.”
Meanwhile, the professor noted that loss of smell and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, are symptoms that should be taken “very seriously,” even if the former was more commonly connected with prior strains.
“It suggests another part of the body is being affected, something internal, more close to the brain.”
Prof Spector and his colleagues issued the warning after conducting a survey to determine the prevalence of tinnitus in patients infected with Covid.
Despite being “something we haven’t heard much about. It turns out that 19 percent or one in five of you did have ear problems because of Covid”, he added.
According to the ZOE lead, 5,000 patients tested positive for Covid and ear ringing out of 14,500 who took part in the study.
The symptom “comes and goes and can be mild to moderate for weeks or months,” according to participants.
The professor acknowledged that he had it, but said it “disappeared quickly in me.”
Many patients suffer from tinnitus, according to Prof Spector, and their symptoms worsened after contracting Covid.
He also mentioned that he has heard anecdotal accounts from colleagues about an increase in tinnitus referrals as a result of Covid.
How to Recognize Tinnitus
Tinnitus can produce sounds like as:
- Music or singing.
These sounds may be heard in one or both ears, or in your head. You might hear them every now and again, or you might hear them all the time.
If you suffer tinnitus on a regular or constant basis, you should contact a doctor, according to experts.
You should also see a GP if:
- Your tinnitus is getting worse
- Your tinnitus is bothering you – for example, it’s affecting your sleep or concentration, or is making you feel anxious and depressed
- You have tinnitus that beats in time with your pulse.
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