omicron virus covid variant what should i do


The latest questions on omicron, immunity, lateral flow tests and self-isolation, answered by Jennifer Rigby and Sarah Newey, global health security correspondents from The Telegraph.

It is hard to believe now, but two years ago this week, the world was effectively unaware of Covid-19. In fact, Chinese scientists had only just revealed the “mystery pneumonia” cases in Wuhan were caused by a novel coronavirus. We’ve all come a long way since then, and so has the science around this new infection. But lots of questions remain about how to best protect yourself and your family. The Telegraph’s global health team answers some of them below.


Should I still be cleaning surfaces forensically?

In short, yes. But not for the reason you think. Cleaning surfaces and washing hands will always be an important element of infection prevention control. But it may well be more important for preventing other diseases – like MRSA, E coli, or norovirus – than Covid-19. For coronavirus, many experts now believe that the air we breathe may well be the key routes of transmission, which explains why mask-wearing and a focus on ventilation have become the watchwords.


What does a faint red line on a lateral flow test mean?

The rise of omicron – the very infectious new variant – has brought the lateral flow test (LFT) to the fore. These cheap, quick, at-home tests are far easier to obtain and process than lab-run PCRs, and this week the government even ruled that a positive result on an LFT for an asymptomatic person is enough to confirm infection and start self-isolating.

But how to read them has raised some questions: for example, what does a faint red line mean? Bad news, unfortunately: experts say that any sign of a red line at all indicates a likely infection. So to be on the safe side, for any inconclusive results, it is best to take another confirmatory test and isolate until you are more certain.


Should I always swab my throat as well as my nose when I do an LFT?

Coming up here is an answer we’ve all had to learn to give and live with during the pandemic – scientists don’t . . . 


Why am I still testing positive for Covid after 10 days, and what should I do?

This is a tricky one. Officially, in England, people who test positive for Covid-19 should . . . 


What is the real coronavirus death toll in the UK?

Weekly deaths reveal excess mortality above the five year average during the Covid-19 pandemic . . .


Why do some people not get Covid?

Again, scientists are unsure. We all know the friend or family member who appears bullet-proof despite . . . 


Should I try to catch omicron because it is ‘mild’ and might give me immunity?

There are lots of reasons why this is a bad idea, particularly if you are unvaccinated. First up, there is no real way of telling how badly coronavirus will hit you, and as the World Health Organisation said this week . . . 


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