Same amount of long Covid symptoms following Omicron and Delta variants
New research shows that those who have been infected by the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus report long Covid just as often as those who were infected with the Delta virus.
“We found that the risk of developing typical post-Covid symptoms that were diagnosed by a general practitioner (GP) after a Covid-19 infection was the same regardless of whether the patient had been infected by Omicron or Delta,” researcher Karin Magnusson at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) says in a press release (link in Norwegian).
Researchers from the NIPH and other organisations have followed 1.3 million Norwegians for 126 days after they were tested for the virus. They studied the individual’s contact with their GP regarding long Covid symptoms for up to 126 days following their test date.
The typical long Covid symptoms investigated were exhaustion, cough, muscle and skeletal pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, anxiety and depression, and difficulty concentrating.
Researchers did find a difference. Those infected with Omicron had a lower risk of going to the doctor with symptoms after 90 days or more had passed. There was also a lower incidence of musculoskeletal pain 90 days or more after Omicron infection than there was 90 days after Delta infection.
“Taken together, the findings show that Omicron will cause an equal, or somewhat lower, long-term burden on the primary healthcare service as a result of post-Covid complaints than what Delta will cause, but the difference between the virus variants is not big,” Magnusson says.
Translated by Alette Bjordal Gjellesvik.
Magnusson, Karin et al, Post-covid medical complaints following infection with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron vs Delta variants, Nature Communications (2022)