The omicron variant is already spreading throughout the U.S., and cases may only continue to increase as we head into the winter months.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN that the omicron variant will strike millions of people pretty soon,

  • “We’re really just about to experience a viral blizzard,” Osterholm told CNN on Thursday. “In the next three to eight weeks, we’re going to see millions of Americans are going to be infected with this virus, and that will be overlaid on top of Delta, and we’re not yet sure exactly how that’s going to work out.”

Osterholm said he’s worried that an increase in cases will put a strain on hospital systems.

  • “What you have here right now is a potential perfect storm,” Osterholm said. “I’ve been very concerned about the fact that we could easily see a quarter or a third of our health care workers quickly becoming cases themselves.”

Recent research suggests omicron leads to less severe COVID-19 symptoms compared to previous strains, as I wrote for the Deseret News. The omicron variant has been shown to lead to fewer hospitalizations, too.

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But scientists have pushed for the American people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to stay safe. Those already vaccinated should grab a booster shot, too, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus.

  • “Our booster vaccine regimens work against omicron,” Fauci said at a White House COVID-19 update Wednesday