TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A survey of over 600 Omicron cases in Taiwan reveals that most children and adults experience a mild case of the disease, but the symptoms vary significantly between the two groups.
During a press conference on Friday (Feb. 11), Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the Central Epidemic Command Center's (CECC) medical response division, said that out of 672 Omicron cases reported since January, the majority are mild or asymptomatic, with only one "moderate-to-severe case." Lo said that most of the cases are adults ranging from their 20s to their 40s.
The most common symptoms complained about have been a cough and sore throat. He said that with Omicron, one should look for a cough (52%) and sore throat (58%), while a runny nose (28%) and fever (21%) are slightly less common.
Of all the local cases, 82 were children aged 12 and under and 590 were teenagers and adults. Lo pointed out that there are some differences between the ways children and adults have been reacting to the virus.
In terms of symptoms, more adults have been asymptomatic at 43%, compared to 34% of children. Two-thirds of children have had mild symptoms, while 56% of adults have had mild symptoms. The sole "moderate-to-severe" case was an adult.
When it comes to gender in children, there have been more boys (55%) than girls (45%) with the virus. In adults, the percentages were reversed, with more women (64%) contracting the virus than men (36%). Lo suggested that the higher rate of infection among adult females could have to do with cluster infections involving female caregivers and migrant workers.
As for symptoms, Lo said that among the 54 symptomatic children, 63% have had a fever, while only 21% of 334 symptomatic adults have experienced a fever. Other common symptoms among children have been a cough (46%), runny nose (24%), and sore throat (17%).
Given that the symptoms for children and adults differ, Lo said that children may not mention discomfort in the throat. Lo said that in most cases, parents have been taking their children to the doctor after they exhibit a fever and cough.
Lo explained that following genetic sequencing on 18 cases last week, all were found to be infected with the Omicron variant. This brings the total number of imported Omicron cases to 439 and local Omicron infections to 246.
He said that presently, as many as 95% of imported cases have been detected within seven days of entry and that 98% have been found within 10 days.
(Taiwan News, Yuwen Lin image)