Where will the omicron variant go next? It may be a national virus, not a regional one, expert says
The omicron variant will spread across the country in ways different than previous variants
Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, recently told CNN that the omicron variant will infect so many more people — even if it causes less severe symptoms.
- “Even though more people who get it have milder illness, so many more people, overall, will get it that I think we are going to see a real challenge in our health care systems over the course of the next three to eight weeks,” he said, per CNN.
Osterholm told CNN that the omicron variant will be different than past variants because it will move across the country in droves — not regionally like we’ve seen with previous variants.
- “Instead of seeing the regional surges we were seeing with Delta — much of the West right now is very low level with Delta, parts of the South — I think Omicron is going to be a national viral blizzard,” he said.
Indeed, recent lab research suggests the omicron variant causes less severe COVID-19 symptoms compared to previous strains of the coronavirus, as I wrote for the Deseret News. Early data suggests the omicron variant leads to less hospitalizations, too.
- That said, a study from researchers at Columbia University suggests the omicron variant of COVID-19 is pretty resistant to the current COVID-19 vaccines, antibody treatments and booster shots — meaning anyone is a potential target for the virus.
Overall, experts recommend getting your COVID-19 booster shot (or full vaccination if you’re not vaccinated) to give yourself the best shot at staying safe from omicron.
- “Our booster vaccine regimens work against omicron,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus.