Runny nose, headache, nothing whips a cat. However, all Johannesburg residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and may be among the new patients of the Omicron variant.
• Read also: Omicron: 2,000 people in quarantine after two cases in a Swiss school
• Read also: In the face of the Omicron variant, Joe Biden introduces a new battle plan
• Read also: Sao Paulo cancels New Year’s Eve after various cases of Omicron
In most cases, the virus is transmitted through their children’s bodies, before attacking the parents’ immune systems who are often vaccinated. In South Africa, nearly three-quarters of new infections are now caused by a mutated form of the coronavirus.
“I thought they had a cold,” says Julia, 41, describing the symptoms of her two daughters, ages 8 and 6, “.
They fell ill after news of the discovery of Omicron by a team of South African researchers, sparking global panic.
Quickly, Julia also began to feel a little sore throat and mild dizziness. “Girls, then me: I knew I had it,” says the advertising consultant. This is despite two doses of the vaccine received in August.
With the test results in hand, she still wouldn’t believe it: “The symptoms are very weak,” she said. “I smell normally, I have not lost the taste,” two of the symptoms that characterize the disease so far.
Within two days, her children were recovered. She, for her part, continues to take paracetamol. Far from the endless swing test that Covid patients sometimes prescribe during previous waves of the pandemic.
Same scenario for Jessica Wilmore, 38. Two children seem to have the flu. In fact, the covid virus.
“We already feel fit enough to take a dip in the pool,” said the Briton, a few days after illness.
According to the World Health Organization, many unknowns remain about the variant that has an unusual number of mutations and remains a “very high risk”. Scientists are working as a priority on its spread and resistance to vaccines.
But the first cases seen by many doctors in this field seemed to show a relatively mild version of the disease. South Africa is officially the African country hardest hit by the virus, with nearly three million cases and more than 89,800 deaths.
Donovan Rothner, 42, is positive and has no symptoms. If surgery isn’t planned soon, which requires testing beforehand, he won’t even know he’s infected. “I could have put a lot of people in danger,” he said, surprised and relieved.
In front of a test center in a commercial area, the line runs with the atmosphere of déjà vu. More than fifty people are waiting in the southern summer sun. Some are cases of communication, others just want to get rid of doubt. Nothing really looks bad.
Darren Halas, 40, hasn’t felt his best this week. And the positive tests of a few colleagues in the office convinced her to do so, too.
But she’s not too worried: “Recently positive people, who already had COVID, told me they felt much less worse than the first time.” According to specialists, it seems that cases of re-infection are more common with the use of Omicron.
Teejan Paxman, 33, also kept calm. “Even if I get it, it’s not very dangerous, I’ve been vaccinated.”
Muhammed Malin, a 42-year-old engineer, is convinced: “We are not done with this virus yet, there are a lot of variables.” “The best thing to do is learn to live with it,” he says philosophically.