Coronavirus OMICRON variant
Coronavirus OMICRON variant ISTOCK

The South African doctor who first reported the new coronavirus variant pushed back Sunday on global panic over the new strain, noting that little is known about the variant, and the vast majority of cases are not accompanied by serious illness.

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a South African physician and chairwoman of the South African Medical Association who also serves on the country’s vaccine advisory committee, told The Telegraph that people appeared to be ‘panicking unnecessarily’ over the Omicron variant, emphasizing its largely mild symptoms and noting it likely has already spread abroad.

“It is all speculation at this stage,” Coetzee said. “It may be its highly transmissible, but so far, what we are seeing clinically in South Africa…is extremely mild.”

“We haven’t admitted anyone [to the hospital].”

"I think you already have it there in your country. You're not even knowing it.”

Speaking with Reuters Sunday, Coetzee said the Omicron variant has thus far presented with “very, very mild symptoms,” and lacks a number of the trademark symptoms found in the original strain and the Delta variant.

“We have been able to treat these patients conservatively at home.”

Severe fatigue was the most common symptom, she said, while the severe cough, loss of sense of smell and taste, and the drop in oxygen levels which often were found in cases caused by other strains were absent with Omicron.

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