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How long it takes for Omicron symptoms to show up

It doesn’t seem to take long for symptoms of COVID’s latest variant, Omicron, to start showing up.

While it’s taken around four or five days for coughs, headaches, and fevers to manifest when infected with previous COVID strains, it looks as if the incubation timetable for Omicron is even more abbreviated.

Data is still limited on COVID’s latest variant, which was first detected in Botswana and South Africa in mid-November, but a recent study in Norway indicates a median three-day window between exposure to the Omicron variant and symptoms—meaning that Omicron is able to spread more quickly.

Cold-like symptoms

Omicron is still new, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is still working with partners to gather data on the variant’s characteristics. Early research conducted in London suggests that a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, and a sore throat are the most common symptoms.

It’s a good idea to stay on the lookout for the symptoms synonymous with earlier strains, which include the following, per the CDC:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

People who are fully vaccinated can still be infected, and some studies indicate that vaccines aren’t as successful at preventing Omicron infection as they have been with previous variants.

Experts have said that COVID-19 testing is crucial to identifying cases numbers. The omicron variant specifically creates symptoms similar to the common cold, which means the COVID-19 test is the only thing that can differentiate between the two.


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