Over 90% of people infected with the omicron coronavirus variant in Okinawa showed no or mild symptoms, according to a recent analysis.
The variant, spreading in many parts of Japan, “is highly transmissible but tends not to result in severe symptoms,” according to the analysis.
So far, studies have shown that the tendency of symptoms among omicron carriers in Japan matches that reported by other countries dealing with the new variant.
In Okinawa, the number of suspected omicron cases made up 73% of all new coronavirus cases found in the week to Jan. 2, suggesting that the omicron variant is increasingly replacing the delta variant in the prefecture.
The share stood at 34% in Tokyo and 60% in Osaka Prefecture.
Of 675 omicron carriers in Okinawa as of Jan. 4, 92.3% had no or mild symptoms, 7.7% had moderate symptoms, and there were no severely ill patients in need of a ventilator or other special equipment, according to a report submitted to an expert panel of the health ministry.
As of July 18 last year, the percentage stood at 72.8% for cases with no or moderate symptoms and 26.2% for cases with moderate symptoms.
A detailed study of symptoms of 50 people with the omicron variant diagnosed by Jan. 1 this year found that 72% of them developed a fever of 37.5 degrees Celsius or higher. Coughing was seen in 58%, and fatigue in 50%.
Meanwhile, only 2% developed taste and smell disorders, major symptoms among patients with other variants.
Last month, the World Health Organization said that data provided by South Africa, which first reported the omicron variant, indicate that the variant tends not to cause severe symptoms.
The prefectural government of Okinawa, however, warned that a surge in omicron cases “would increase the number of patients with moderate and severe symptoms, possibly resulting in a lack of hospital beds.”
The prefectural government of Kanagawa ran its own calculations to estimate trends in the daily number of new coronavirus cases amid an omicron variant surge, based on how fast the variant spread in the U.K.
The estimate showed that the number of daily new cases in the prefecture is likely to grow to around 11,500 by late January.
Kanagawa is enhancing the prefecture’s medical care system by securing more hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.