Omicron emerged as the dominant strain in the “seventh wave” of the new crown epidemic in Japan, and patients with sequelae displayed a wide range of symptoms. Other noticeable symptoms included a heightened sensitivity to light and sound, as well as the previously mentioned fatigue and cough. New infections are on the decline, but the number of patients experiencing complications related to their crowns is expected to rise dramatically.
The medical system is in need of further improvement because the relevant mechanism has not been identified and the symptoms have persisted for a long time. Overwhelmingly, “Omicron” emerged as the dominant strain, accompanied by novel symptoms like heightened sensitivity to light and sound. Okayama University Hospital’s vice president Fumio Otsuka said as much when introducing the effects in February 2021, when work began on establishing the hospital’s new crown specialist clinic. According to his introductory remarks, patients infected with the Ormicon strain typically experience between three and five symptoms, such as abdominal pain, dizziness, and other symptoms that can have a significant impact on daily life.
About 400 new crown patients, including those infected with strains other than Omicron, had been seen by hospital staff as of the end of August this year. More than a hundred symptoms reportedly have been identified; it will take time to determine whether or not these are sequelae. “Because of the large individual differences, it is only possible to judge whether it is a sequelae through a ‘differential diagnosis’ that negates the possibility of other diseases,” said Otsuka Fumio. There is a shift in the typical patterns of Omicron’s consequences. Spread of Omicron in Tokyo increased from January to July of 2022. The newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei Chinese website) analyzed the symptoms of patients who went to the New Crown Sequelae Clinic at Tokyo Metropolitan Hospital during this time.
The percentage of people reporting burnout was 46%, and the percentage of people reporting coughing was 22%; both of these numbers are increases of 6-8% when compared to the traditional and delta strains. The number of people who have problems with their sense of smell or taste, however, dropped by between 4 and 6 percentage points. When the seventh wave hit, it was a particularly nasty pandemic. The daily average of new infections in Japan in August was over 261,000. As of late, there has been a downward trend in the rate of newly reported infections, but the rate is still quite high. The expected increase in the number of patients experiencing complications is cause for concern.
“About a month and a half after the peak of new infections, the peak of sequelae occurs.
They won’t be able to handle it if the number of patients keeps rising.” Director Mitsuichi Hirahata from the Hirahata Clinic in Shibuya, Tokyo, who has opened a new crown specialist clinic since the outbreak began, voiced his concerns. When asked about the long-term effects of Omicron, he stated that a growing number of clinic patients were reporting not only burnout but also a loss of appetite and impaired cognitive functioning. Omicron-type strains are distinguished by their sequelae’s increased prevalence of younger patients.
From January 1, 2022, to August 25, 2022, 415 (56% of the total) of the 740 patients seen at the Hirahata Clinic were younger than 39. The new coronavirus caused burnout and “brain fog” for a 30-something Tokyo woman, leading to her suspension in the middle of September. A woman explained that because of this, “there is no way to concentrate on work,” and consequently, more mistakes are made. About a month passed before he was able to see a doctor who specializes in treating sequelae, and he was understandably nervous leading up to the diagnosis.
The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare has mandated that prefectural and municipal governments put in place appropriate systems to steer patients who have recently received a crown to hospitals equipped to treat their complications. However, as of June, 40% of Japanese local governments had not implemented medical institutions despite consultations, making it clear that enhancing the admissions process was a pressing concern. Okayama University Hospital professor Fumio Otsuka said, “by linking general hospitals and clinics, local governments can effectively diagnose, and it is best to establish such a system.” And he added, “The symptoms are very disturbing to the patients. Medical social workers who can aid in patients’ reintegration into society are needed to complement the provision of physical and mental health care.”