Variant COVID BA.2.12.1: pay attention to these first 3 symptoms


STATEN ISLAND, NY – Early symptoms of the latest variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) are similar to those experienced when treating seasonal allergies, leaving some confused as to whether they should get tested or just feel the effects of a high pollen count.

The variant, known as BA.2.12.1, is a descendant of the BA.2 virus, a subvariant of the omicron strain of the coronavirus that experts consider highly transmissible.

“This variant is about 25% more contagious than the original Omicron variant that entered the United States last fall,” Dr. Susan Huang, medical director of disease epidemiology and prevention, told Yahoo News. infections at UCI Health in Orange County.

Currently, BA.2.12.1 accounts for about 42.6% of all coronavirus cases in the United States, up from just 7% of all cases in April, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

One of the most troubling aspects of the new variant is that those who have been infected usually show mild symptoms often associated with seasonal allergies or a cold, which could discourage them from getting tested and allow them to spread without know the virus in the community.

“The first symptoms seem to be related to a scratchy throat or a sore throat, often quite mild,” Huang said. “Other early symptoms are sneezing or a runny nose – both of which often make infected people think they have allergies or a mild cold, which they hope is not COVID.”

These early symptoms may be followed by more common coronavirus symptoms, including:

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

As has been the case, residents are encouraged to get vaccinated and receive a booster shot to reduce their risk of contracting the virus and developing severe symptoms.

“If you are eligible for the extra booster this spring, please get it to receive extra protection against mild and severe illnesses,” Huang urged. “You will still be eligible for the next fall booster which will have changes to improve its effect against new variants.”


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