New Omicron variant worth keeping a close eye on

Is there an end to COVID-19? Not anytime soon, it appears.

Omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus, has made its appearance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which knows a thing or two about pandemics, announced that the World Health Organization has classified the variant as a variant of concern.

No cases of the variant have been identified in the U.S. to date, but the CDC indicated it’s following the details of the new variant, which was first reported to WHO by South Africa.

The CDC said it’s monitoring the omicron variant’s path, stressing it expects it to be identified quickly if it emerges in the U.S.

Prevention strategies such as wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, washing hands often and social distancing should be followed. The CDC recommends everyone age 5 and up get fully vaccinated. Because of omicron, It also strengthened its recommendation that anyone ages 18 and over get a booster shot six months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna series or two months after their initial Johnson & Johnson-Janssen vaccine.

How much of a risk it the omicron variant?

The New York Times reported on Monday that President Joe Biden noted the variant is “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” and that his administration was working with vaccine manufacturers to modify vaccines and booster shots if that became necessary.

The newspaper also reported that omicron seems to be more contagious than the delta variant, although evidence suggests that omicron does not cause more severe illness.

However, it might be too early to tell.

The CDC said new variants of the virus are expected, but COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized by the FDA protect against known variants. How effective the vaccines will be against new vaccines is unknown.

The CDC said all variants cause similar COVID-19 symptoms, but some variants, such as the alpha and delta variants, might cause more severe illness and death.

How long will this last? Will we go through the entire Greek alphabet before all this is said and done?

An unfortunate possibility is that COVID-19 will never go away completely, and the world will have to adapt to that possibility. How much it will have to adapt will depend on how much the virus has spread, how many variants there are and how dangerous they become.

Regarding omicron, it could be a relatively minor matter, or it could turn into something more serious.

We’re dealing with a virus here and that means an ever-changing scenario.

So, that means taking the proper precautions and being diligent about how the virus continues to mutate. We hope it doesn’t, but viruses have a way of doing that on their own.


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