(DailyDig.com) – The Omicron variant is the most recent development in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The mutated virus’s emergence is reigniting fears people first felt when the coronavirus began to spread across the globe in late 2019, prompting leaders to reimplement lockdowns, curfews, and mandates. But what exactly makes this new variant so concerning compared to Delta and other versions?
To the Top
The original strain of COVID-19 spread like wildfire. Omicron is proving to be just as infectious, if not more so. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this newest mutation is rapidly becoming the most dominant strain of SARS-CoV-2. Delta previously held that position; statistics showed it was twice as infectious as the original virus. In less than a month, omicron passed the most contagious form of SARS-CoV-2 to become the nation’s top variant.
The CDC reports that omicron is responsible for up to 73% of all new coronavirus cases in the United States. In areas such as New York, numbers are even worse; the new variant accounts for up to 90% of new infections. Numbers in the Pacific Northwest, Southeast, and industrial Midwest currently reflect similar results.
In late November and early December, around the time researchers discovered the new variant, an estimated 99.5% of all SARS-CoV-2 cases in America stemmed from Delta instead.
Omicron is Inevitable
Senior scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security Dr. Amesh Adalja believes everyone will eventually contract omicron at some point. He says this is especially true for people who interact with society regularly and feels that full vaccination is the best way to remain protected.
Dr. Adalja explains that after the way omicron spread through South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Denmark, its emergence as the dominant variant in the US is far from a surprise. In fact, the scholar predicts it will spread even further over the holidays, triggering serious complications among the unvaccinated.
Despite its incredible infection rate, researchers still don’t fully understand the omicron virus. There haven’t been enough studies to prove whether or not the strain causes worse conditions than other variants or features milder symptoms.
Staying Safe During the Holiday Season
Christmas is just days away, and with the holiday comes spending time with family and friends. That often involves traveling. It’s crucial for anyone with travel plans to take necessary precautions to avoid contracting omicron and spreading it to others.
Practicing good hygiene is essential in the fight against all COVID-19 strains. As of now, President Biden hasn’t restricted travel within the US, but that doesn’t mean people can’t practice social distancing and wear a mask indoors and where required to do so. The holidays are meant to be full of love and joy, not getting sick.
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