When data isn't available, default to "lived experience."
We all know anecdotes are not a substitute for data, but the data we actually need about Omicron isn’t being gathered by anyone, so anecdotes are the best that anyone can do. And if you’re like me, you’re talking to all your friends and relatives and comparing your stories about how you caught Omicron variant, what it was like, how fast you got over it, and wondering what the big deal is. Herein, I will share my experience with Omicron in some detail, and then also give the accounts of ten readers constituting several dozen additional anecdotes. Add those to your own anecdote pool and maybe you’ll have data.
On January 12th, I intentionally jinxed myself.
I had plane tickets to fly out the Sunday night before SHOT Show, had an invite to attend Range Day on Monday with folks from The Firearm Blog, and then had to figure out what to do with an impending snow storm in Atlanta on the day I was supposed to fly out.
Snowstorms in Atlanta are either a joke, or very much not a joke, and it’s impossible to determine in advance their relative jokeness. The snow was supposed to hit my area at 10 AM, and I wasn’t to fly out until 7 PM, so I was concerned I would be snowed in at my home. So I left early. I drove to the MARTA station in Sandy Springs, parked, walked a mile in the snow to a bar, spent 10 AM to 4 PM in the bar, walked back in the snow, got on the MARTA train, rode to the airport, got on my plane, and headed to Las Vegas.
The Covid hit me at about 30,000 ft over West Texas. Fever, chills, shakes, cough, while I’m in the window seat next to a couple of young liberal tourists rocking KN95s. Two hours into a four hour flight. By the time I deplaned I had my stocking cap on, jacket zipped all the way up, hands in my pockets to keep people from seeing how badly I was shaking so they didn’t throw me in a zombie camp. I Ubered to my AirBnb, put every blanket in the house on the bed, and went to sleep.
It’s important at this point to pause and talk about onset times. Nobody in my household got Covid, and I’d had no other outside exposure except for that day. I must have picked Covid up at the bar, which means the onset for my case was eleven hours or less from exposure to symptoms. Granted, I was walking around in the sleet so that might have had something to do with it.
I skipped range day Monday with fevers, chills, aches, and fatigue. Drank chicken broth. Kareem at Open Source Defense brought by some vitamins, Theraflu, and a thermometer that night. I continued to have chills and fatigue on Tuesday but no fever, and tested a very feint positive line on an at-home Covid test. On Wednesday I felt great, and given I was four days off from exposure I adopted the Nick Saban Protocol and went to SHOT Show. I have had a bit of morning crud in my throat since, but that’s it. I wore a mask, although I don’t believe they do any good.
In total, my experience with Omicron was less bad than my last experience with an influenza shot, which laid me out three days with worse fevers, worse chills, and the same overall symptom profile just more debilitating. Omicron was less bad that the flu vaccine. For me anyway. Remember, we’re talking about anecdotes here.
Israel’s Omicron wave is huge, national, completely un-phased by four vax shots, is blowing the doors off of all their records, and they’ve got zero Omicron deaths.
Israel has had a million Covid cases in the last 14 days alone, approximately ten percent of their entire population, in the most vaxxed and monitored country in the world. No deaths.
When I got back, I plumbed the HWFO Slack Channel, which is a walled garden internet community of readers of the blog, for their Omicron experiences to see how they compared. Browse through these, compare to mine, and compare to your own. In the early days of Covid-19, there was a great culture war over the phrase “It’s just the flu.” Based on every anecdote I’ve seen, read, heard, or had any exposure to, Omicron isn’t even the flu. It’s just a cold.
And I get that these are anecdotes, but nobody’s keeping data on whether this is just a cold or not, so anecdotes are the best we have to go on.
The Dirty Dozen
Whole family had covid - I noticed because the older kid and I had fevers, we grabbed at home tests, they were positive, confirmed with PCR. Symptoms were pretty flu like - mild-moderate fever, sniffles, chills. The youngest kid seemed to escape unharmed until about 15 days after we'd come down, when he had a fever of 99 for half a day. (He never showed other noticeable symptoms, but did test positive). This was early-mid December.
We weren't taking many precautions, were vaccinated (as is most of our circle) and so far as I can tell, nobody we were interacting with either gave it to us or got it from us.
When I got COVID, I had three symptoms.
3) chills and frequent body temperature changes
I attributed 1) to drinking too much coffee, and 2&3) for deciding to go out on a run in the cold.
My first test was a negative, the second (taken on the second day, after my gf insisted it must be COVID) , was positive.
Lasted 48 hours, except for a lingering cough which showed up when the first three symptoms started to disappear.
Tested positive on home test (as were all the above) 10 days later, tested negative on rapid test 12 days later.
Edit: I am unvaccinated.
Edit2: it got easier after treating with C D Zinc and Quisertine
My whole family had covid. We PCR tested positive on the Dec 22nd and got results on the 23rd. I took a rapid test and tested positive on the 23rd before we got PCR results (I was feeling sick)
Day 1 (which was probably the 22nd) I had lethargy, the chills, a low fever, congestion, a mild sore throat. I'm 41. Most symptoms slowly waned over a 5-7 day period, though I think the lethargy stuck around a little longer.
My 38 year old wife (vaxed and boosted ~6 weeks before infection) had similar, but slightly milder symptoms.
My 10 year old son and 7 year old daughter (unvaxxed) had no or very minimal symptoms.
I took benadryl, vitamin D, beer, microdose psilocybin, thc edibles and lots of homemade turkey stock leftover from thanksgiving.
I'm unvaccinated, I had a week with sniffles and a lot of sneezing but no other symptoms. I thought it could be allergy to house dust after cleaning (common problem for me). I woke up with chills and a low fever (99.5 at the highest), felt light headed and dizzy when I stood up. I developed a minor dry cough, headache and sore throat, general aches all over, then a day or so later felt very fatigued. I rested for about 3 days and the symptoms went away, some fatigue lingered a bit for a few days after. I was supplementing vitamin C, D, Zinc, Magnesium. I didn't ever get tested but given the timing and symptoms I'm pretty sure it was Omicron. At least, it must have been something extremely contagious because I didn't have any prolonged contact with anyone outside the house at all before this.
My wife had exactly the same symptoms a day after me, and our 1 year old son also had a low fever and was a little ill at ease at the same time.
8 cases in my local extended family within the past month (5 confirmed, the other 3 not tested). All adults treated with Cuercetin, zinc, Vit D, and all the other drugs from [whatever that doctors pdf recommended] except Ivermectin, because we couldn't find any. No known prior COVID inflections except as otherwise noted. No vaccinations for the whole crew.
77yo male, diabetes, obese: ignored it for a few days, his blood sugar spiked and he got confused and dehydrated, hospitalized about a week into symptoms, treated for covid-related pneumonia, released after about 5 days (but he has good insurance, my wife suspects it would have been a 1-2 day stay otherwise). Recovering fine.
77yo female, obese: minor fatigue 3 days, fully recovered. (The only adult without a confirming test)
65yo female, hypertension: 2 days minor fatigue, fully recovered.
65yo male, no comorb: 3 days moderate fatigue, fully recovered.
37yo female, no comorb: Lost sense of smell for 2 weeks, no other symptoms. Sense of smell about 80% recovered (3 weeks since start).
37yo male, no comorb: Previous COVID inflection Jan '21. Minor fatigue 2 days. Fully recovered.
4yo male: 1 day fever, treated w/ children's Tylenol. Fully recovered.
2yo female: 1 day fever, treated w/ children's Tylenol. Fully recovered.
Summary: The kids' immune systems burned it away and ignored it. Adult females did better than adult males, and the worst case (3 comorbidities) was mainly because of ignored related conditions.
Me and a few of my friends contracted COVID from going out on New Year's Eve. We had a group of 5 friends go out (we're all in our early to mid 20's). I and 2 others started showing symptoms on Jan 3 (other 2 didn't get sick).
Me: On Jan 4 I felt like I had the flu (headache, achy body, chills). Took a bunch of vitamins (C, zinc, etc) and a dose of ivermectin for my body weight (200 lbs). The next day I felt a million times better and didn't get any worse afterwards (really just a stuffy nose and felt a bit cold at times). Not sure if it was the ivermectin or if I got lucky. I'm not vaccinated. I didn't get a test but my friends were positive for COVID so I'm sure I was as well. My dad (61 years old and vaccinated, not boosted) got sick a few days after me (I definitely gave it to him). He had flu-like symptoms like me. He took a dose of ivermectin and seemed significantly better the next day.
Friend 1: Felt like death and said he had extreme fatigue. Didn't take vitamins or anything (though he lives a super healthy lifestyle) and couldn't do much for a week. He's vaccinated but not boosted. Tested positive for COVID.
Friend 2: Had flu-like symptoms like me but for a good bit longer (probably a week). Not sure what he did to help combat the VID. He's vaccinated and boosted. Tested positive for COVID.
The 2 that didn't get sick are both women (not sure if that affects things) and I'm pretty sure they're vaccinated.
No idea if I actually had it or not, couldn’t find a test. Went to Monday night opening party for shot show with the expectation I would catch it, so preloaded with 40k vitamin D/day for 3 days starting day before, and 20k/day since. Started feeling a little weird Thursday, had a 100-101 fever that lasted until Early Saturday with some fatigue. No real cough or drainage though. Kept up with the vit D added vit B and C and aspirin, as well as some Dayquil. Drank lots of fluids, especially vitamin water. Post-fever I’ve had an very slight dry cough, that’s really been it. Otherwise feel 100% normal. I’ve had the notorious shot crud before, this wasn’t it. I almost feel like a hypochondriac even suspecting it may have been Covid.
Patient Zero in our house was our 8 year old. His symptoms were very mild - he said he had some discomfort exhaling, and he had a low grade fever (101) for a couple of days, but only in the evenings
Then I got it (37 y/o 2x shots). I had a cough that felt very different from any other upper respiratory infection I have previously had, best I can describe is it felt like I had poison ivy in my upper lungs. Day one I had to spend an hour inhaling steam in the shower, but by day three it was gone. Weirdly I never got a fever. Just the cough and some sluggishness that felt like a mild hangover.
Partner got it a couple days after me (34 y/o female, unvaxxed) and took a big hit to her energy for 3-4 days, but didn't miss work or anything else.
The 3, 5, and 6 year old never showed symptoms of any kind so we didn't test. The three of us were verified Covid + via PCR and home tests.
My roommate, 40 y/o man, felt like a mild cold for a couple days, followed by a couple days of fatigue. He went and got a test from the state-run testing center and it came back positive. Two weeks later, the rapid tests he's getting from an employer are still coming back with a faint but visible line for positive.
Multiple people working on the Olympics tested negative in the USA before departure, then tested positive in China on arrival and were quarantined for weeks, testing positive every day on the chinese-administered test, even though tests sent to them from the US came back negative. The US department of state organized a refugee flight to get them out, which was sent back because... The pilot tested positive on arrival. Zero of these people have any symptoms.
Came down with it after Christmas and visiting family. Little sister tested positive, and I was taking unusually long to get over my "long car trip" fatigue, so my employer asked me to get tested.
For the price of a stuffy nose and a VERY mild cough I got to save a bunch of gas and time that I would have otherwise spent on commuting.
And there you have it. Post your experiences below in the comments to add to the anecdote pile.