Expert says think twice about gathering for the Christmas holiday
Dr. Daniel Rhoads of the Cleveland Clinic says the variant is spreading more rapidly in South Africa than here in the U.S.
TOLEDO, Ohio — The first cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 reported in the U.S. were reported in the last couple of weeks, but experts say it shouldn’t be our main concern just yet, as the Delta variant continues to fill hospitals with COVID patients. They also say we don’t know enough about this variant, which is why there’s reason to be concerned, but now overly concerned.
“It seems to be spreading quickly in South Africa, so that is concerning because for the last couple of months no other variant has really been able to compete with Delta,” said Dr. Daniel Rhoads of the Cleveland Clinic.
Doctor Rhoads says it will take time before we know more about this new variant, such as if it’s as contagious as Delta. He also says that we don’t know much about the symptoms of Omicron, like if they’re more severe as the dominant Delta strain.
With the holiday season already here, Rhoads says get vaccinated before you even consider gathering with family and friends. He says getting vaccinated helps to prevent COVID-19 from mutating, as it still poses a risk to the general public, even as we’re almost 2 years into the pandemic.
“The mutations occur randomly, so the more opportunities to mutate, the more opportunities there are for an occasional advantageous mutation. So, when millions of people are infected, that gives the virus millions of more opportunities to mutate and maybe land on one of those advantageous mutations,” said Dr. Daniel Rhoads of the Cleveland Clinic.
Rhoads adds that even with multiple vaccines, getting tested for COVID-19 is crucial to detecting new variants, and keeping track of the current ones.