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Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and physician in Hopkins' Post COVID-19 Clinic, told KCBS Radio's "Ask An Expert" a mild infection may still be "the worst infection you've had."
"When I say milder, it implies not being hospitalized. I want to make something very clear: you could be rocked at your home with a bad fever, bad chills, maybe even some shortness of breath," Galiatsatos said. "Recognize that mild for doctors just means you haven't been hospitalized, but it still could be rather disruptive."
As the virus continues to mutate, Galiatsatos said it's unlikely that we'll see another variant of COVID-19. Instead, a continuous stream of omicron subvariants are more probable.
"The omicron variant changes have been very successful for this virus to infect us and stay infected. A lot of it has to do with the notion that the symptoms have become milder. We're not seeing as much of a rush into the hospitals or into the intensive care units, and to some extent it's the mutations in addition to the vaccination rates," he explained.
When dealing with an omicron subvariant infection, the initial symptoms commonly feel similar to allergies or a cold. "This is what scares me so much with regards to the omicron variant and its subvariants," Galiatsatos said. "Its initial presentation, unlike its predecessors, is often insidious. I call them 'dismissive symptoms,' people thinking they're just allergies. I will promise you, not everyone has that many allergies."
To appropriately navigate a COVID-19 case, the Johns Hopkins professor urged people to start making socially conscious decisions. "Say 'you know what, I'm not feeling well today, it's different from yesterday, let me just test myself and make sure I don't have COVID,'" Galiatsatos advised.