New COVID variant causes allergy-like symptoms

There's a new coronavirus variant that is under investigation by the World Health Organization, and it comes with an unusual and potentially confusing symptom. 

"It's not time for panic, it's not time for widespread alarm, but it's certainly something that we need to keep an eye on," said Dr. Chid Iloabachie, associate chair of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital. 

Doctors here in New York City and around the world are looking into the new omicron subvariant, arcturus, that's spreading fast.

"[What's] concerning is that the fact that it may be resistant in terms of antibodies we may have from the other omicron subvariant, so this specific strain may be able to evade those antibodies that our body may have formed to the other omicron subvariants," offered Dr. Rabia Delatour at New York University's Langone Health.

Arcturus is highly contagious among children in India and it's causing a new symptom. 

"Something unique about this strain is that we're seeing a lot more cases in children in India, and those children are experiencing some severe conjunctivitis, which is redness or irritation of the eyes and this wasn't previously seen with other immigrants of variants, so it’s something unique to this strain," Dr. Delatour continued.

Even with COVID fatigue, health care professionals say people still need to pay attention to what may be the next dominant coronavirus variant here in the United States.  

"I would encourage anyone who has not been up-to-date in their boosting to get a booster as soon as they can," Dr. Iloabachie added.

The public health measures that we've always been taking still work against this new variant that includes frequent hand-washing and hand sanitization, plus wearing a mask when you're in crowded places.