For three years, the coronavirus has been sweeping the entire planet.
Photo: Svetlana MAKOVEEVA
For the past three years, the coronavirus has spread across the entire planet, during which time many of its strains (subspecies) have changed. Another mutation of the last “omicron”, which was called “kraken”, appeared at the end of summer. And the other day she came to us.
What will happen next is unknown, but most scientists are inclined to believe that the coronavirus has come to us a long time ago. Humanity is learning to live with it. And we decided to remember how it all began.
1. December 2019. Wuhan variant
Appeared in China, was brought to Russia on January 31, 2020.
The incubation period is 7 to 12 days.
Symptoms: often high fever, severe cough, loss of smell and taste, severe muscle pain. Rapid damage to the lungs.
The main problem was that there was no specific treatment, there were no vaccines, and the virus as a whole was not studied. Although it was difficult to call it new, the coronavirus family has coexisted with us for more than a century.
Precisely due to the lack of treatment protocols, vaccines and, at the same time, frequent severe forms of the disease, lockdowns were announced in all countries of the world in April 2020. The world has been locked up at home for a few weeks. All events have been cancelled. Home delivery couriers become heroes.
2. September 2020. British version – Alpha*
*From now on, WHO experts propose to name the new variants and subvariants of the coronavirus with the letters of the Greek alphabet. Much of the world during these months took up arms against the “Chinese” virus. But it turns out that viruses do not have nationalities. So let them be in Greek letters.
The incubation period was reduced to 5-10 days.
Symptoms: About the same as the Wuhan variant, but more people in percentage terms started complaining of coughing and extreme fatigue. Infectiousness has increased: on average, now one carrier of the virus infected 2-3 people (with the Wuhan variant, as a rule, 1-2).
The mandatory nature of the use of masks is still maintained in the countries, in many there are serious restrictive measures for mass events, the borders are closed, but little by little the measures are being relaxed.
The first vaccines appear in the world (the first publicly available vaccine, the Russian Sputnik, was registered in August 2020).
December 3, 2020. South African Version – Beta
The symptoms were not much different from alpha, but the number of seriously ill people increased. The main danger was that it affected mainly young and healthy people.
4. January 2021. Brazilian version – Gamma
Widespread in the Amazon forests, it became famous after four Japanese tourists became infected with it. There was an outbreak in Tokyo.
The infectivity of the virus is increasing. And suddenly there was a danger of reinfection.
May 5, 2021. Indian version – Delta
In June 2021 it was already in full swing in Russia. More contagious than the alpha variant, almost twice as contagious, which is why it took over the world quickly. At that time, the most contagious variant: initially from one person, on average, 5-7 others were infected, while the initial Wuhan strain was no more than two.
Symptoms: runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting have been added to the already “usual” fever, cough, muscle pain. But the sense of smell and touch disappear less often.
The most serious variant: the risk of hospitalizations has doubled. And the lethality compared to the Wuhan strain increased by almost 140%.
All this happens against the background of the mandatory use of masks in public transport and crowded places.
6. November 2021. South African Option – Omicron
It was first recorded in November 2021 in South Africa, and then suddenly appeared everywhere. It has been registered in Russia since the end of December 2021. Wholesale distribution began in early January 2022. Since then, it has remained the dominant strain worldwide.
The main characteristic are the mutations in the spike protein (or spike protein), with which the virus adheres to the human body and towards which almost all vaccines are oriented. Due to its characteristics, “omicron” leaves immunity, both from vaccination and from antibodies that remain after encountering the first types of coronavirus.
Its numerous mutations are known: “stealth”, which has learned to evade test systems, “centaur”, as well as “typhion”, “cerberus” … All these mythical monsters are subvariants of an “omicron”. As scientists aptly called them: virus soup. At the moment, several hundred subspecies are known…
One of the latter is the Kraken. He is already marching hard and hard across America and Europe, which means he will soon be appearing in great numbers with us. According to virologist Peter Chumakov, PhD in Biology, “evolution is going in a very good direction for us, because the virus is less and less pathogenic, although more contagious. It will be less likely to cause severe forms of the disease.”
The main features of “omicron” (and “kraken” too): very high infectivity. It infects both children (who were rarely affected by earlier strains) and adults. At the same time, the severity of the disease decreased significantly: as a percentage, hospitalization was required for a relatively small number of sick people. But because they were sick en masse (in Russia alone in February-March 2022, more than a hundred thousand people were infected every day), hospitals were overcrowded. Now, throughout Russia, no more than a thousand people with covid are hospitalized per day. Therefore, the anti-COVID measures were canceled in the summer – we took off our masks with relief.
Symptoms: most often low temperature (up to 38C), sometimes without fever, headache, fatigue, muscle pain. It can be easily confused with seasonal SARS, because there is a runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion, cough (dry in the first days), often hoarseness, diarrhea. But loss of smell or touch is becoming less common.
WHO experts recommend not relaxing vigilance and following basic security measures: washing your hands and face after going out on the street, the use of masks in public places is recommended. Ventilate rooms more often. And get vaccinated.
Doctors and scientists of the whole world, despite the fact that they note the invulnerability of “omicron” to post-vaccination immunity, still call vaccinations the main protection – they do not allow the disease to go into a serious stage and develop complications. .