‘Could not move my neck’: UK doctor shares three new disturbing symptoms of Omicron BA.5

Omicron sub-variant discussed by infectious disease expert

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There are over four million Britons currently bogged down with symptomatic Covid, the latest ZOE health data suggests. Omicron BA.5 – the latest subvariant of Omicron – is thought to be responsible. It takes immune escape, already extensive, “to the next level”, wrote Doctor Eric Topol, a prominent US-based Covid expert in a recent blog post.

Indeed, it’s not just the enhanced transmissibility that makes the subvariant unusual.

It’s also giving rise to a spate of peculiar symptoms, some of which can be debilitating.

That’s the takeaway from a doctor’s account of her Omicron BA.5 ordeal.

Writing on Twitter, UK-based Doctor Claire Taylor shared her symptoms as they unfolded.

On day five, the doctor posted: “I actually could not move my neck at all.”

The doc said “around day 10 I developed numbness and tingling down my left arm. I still could not move my neck”.

She went to sleep and “woke up with distorted vision in my left eye. Couldn’t read anything as bits of text missing”.

She described her onslaught of symptoms as “essentially viral meningitis”.

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Citing “fever, neck pain and stiffness and dislike of bright light” as meningitis-like symptoms.

Her takeaway? Covid is not “just a cold” as some naysayers like to suggest.

There are reasons to be optimistic. For example, researchers found that the odds of experiencing long Covid were between 20 to 50 percent less during the Omicron period versus the Delta period, depending on age and time since vaccination.

Researchers identified 56,003 UK adult cases in the ZOE Health Study app first testing positive between December 20 2021 and March 9 2022, when Omicron was the dominant strain.

The ZOE Health Study has drawn on data submitted from millions of Britons throughout the pandemic.

The ZOE team compared these cases to 41,361 cases first testing positive between June 1 2021 and November 27 2021 when the Delta variant was dominant.

In order to assess the association between long Covid and the infection period, the researchers adjusted by sex, IMD (Index of Multiple Deprivation), age, the presence of comorbidities, vaccination status (one, two, or three doses), and body-mass index, all of which are related to the risk of long Covid.

They also looked at the time between infection and most recent vaccination considering three groups, three months, three to six months, and more than six months to allow for potential waning of immunity from vaccination.

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The analysis shows that 4.4 percent of Omicron cases were long Covid, compared to 10.8 percent of Delta cases.

However, the absolute number of people experiencing long Covid was in fact higher in the Omicron period.

This was because of the vast numbers of people infected with Omicron from December 2021 to February 2022.

The UK Office of National Statistics estimated the numbers of people with long Covid actually increased from 1.3 million in January 2022 to two million as of 1st May 2022.

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