If you’ve been following the pandemic’s ongoing state, you’ve certainly already heard about the Omicron variant. It was first reported last year as an unexpected wave of COVID cases were being reported in Europe and parts of the US. By December 20, 2021, Omicron had been reported in every part of the United States, including territories such as Peurto Rico. Today, it remains the dominant variant in the country.
What You Need To Know About Omicron
World health leaders have been connecting with public health and industry leaders to share information about this variant. They continue to evaluate the speed and ease with which it spreads and the severity of COVID cases involving it. Throughout, their primary concern is identifying if the medications and vaccines designed to fight other COVID variants are effective against it.
They’ve come to realize that Omicron spreads more rapidly than other variants of the COVID-19 virus. So much so that even those who are vaccinated are at risk of spreading it to those around them. The good news is that Omicron cases don’t appear to be any more severe than those caused by other variants. It would seem the opposite is true.
While those infected with the Omicron variant may still require hospitalization, the disease itself appears to be milder. It could still be life-threatening for those with pre-existing health conditions, weak immune systems, and the elderly. However, given the virulent nature of the variant, it still has to potential to overwhelm hospitals if even a fraction of those infected requires in-patient care.
Thankfully, the following steps are proven to be effective at fighting Omicron:
- Vaccines – Getting vaccinated remains the most effective way of protecting yourself and others. This is especially true since the Omicron variant has shown the ability to transfer from vaccinated individuals to unvaccinated individuals. Ensure that you and your family keep up with the primary series of shots and the booster shots.
- Masking – Masking has been shown to be a great way to prevent the spread of the virus. It has demonstrated other benefits as well, with this last year having lower Flu cases than have been seen for decades prior. This demonstrates that masking is effective and has a range of benefits.
- Getting Tested: There are two primary types of tests being used to check if an individual is infected. These are the NAAT test, nucleic acid amplification, and antigen tests. Some self-tests can be used at home. If your test turns up positive, schedule a doctor appointment immediately.
These practices are your primary line of defense against contracting the COVID virus or any of its variants.
Speak To Your Provider For More Guidance
Your medical care provider can give you more information on protecting your family from the Omicron variant. While the situation around COVID seems to have improved due to widespread vaccination, it’s not over yet. Scientists and medical specialists continue to search for new ways to beat the COVID pandemic once and for all.