An internal memo at the National Obstetric Fistula Centre in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, has warned that a new and more dangerous variant of COVID-19 has emerged.
Recall that the United Kingdom (UK) detected its first case of the new COVID-19 variant, BA.2.86, on Aug. 18, and said the strain had also been identified in Israel, Denmark and the United States.
“There is currently one confirmed case in the UK in an individual with no recent travel history, which suggests a degree of community transmission within the UK,” the UK Health Security Agency had said.
However, the August 22 memo, signed by Dr. Yakubu E. N., advised against hugging and recommends wearing double face masks.
Yakubu said the new variant, known as “BA.4 and BA.5 COVID delta,” presents with different symptoms like “a lot of joint pain, headache, neck and upper back pain, general weakness, loss of appetite, and pneumonia.
The variant, he said, is “more virulent and with a higher mortality rate,” and “takes less time to go to extremes. Sometimes without symptoms.”
The memo also warns that nasal swab tests for the new variant are often false negatives, making it more challenging to diagnose.
“This strain does not live in the nasopharyngeal region. Now it directly affects the lungs, which means that the “windows” periods are shorter. There have been several patients without fever, without pain, but who report mild chest pneumonia on their X-rays. Nasal swab tests are very often negative for COVID-19, and there are more and more false negative results from nasopharyngeal tests.
“This means that the virus spreads and spreads directly to the lungs, causing acute respiratory stress caused by viral pneumonia. This explains why it has become sharp, more virulent, and deadly. Please, be extremely careful.
“Avoid crowded places, keep 1.5 distance even in open places, double face masks, and wash your hands often (and when you cough or sneeze). Please no hugs, it is very dangerous at the moment, as almost everyone is asymptomatic.
“This “wave” is much more deadly than the first, so we have to be VERY careful and take every kind of precaution.
“Do not keep this information to yourself; share it as much as you can, especially with your friends,” the memo cautioned.