The omicron variant is still spreading across the United States, but there has been a lot of confusion about whether the virus will prevent a mild or severe infection.

The news: Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said last week that labeling omicron as “mild” isn’t fair since a “mild” infection doesn’t always mean “mild,” as I reported for the Deseret News.

  • “Importantly, ‘milder’ does not mean ‘mild.’ And, we cannot look past the strain on our health systems and substantial number of deaths — nearing 2,200 a day as a result of the extremely transmissible omicron variant,” she said, per Fox News.
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Risks: A person’s severity risk could be dependent on age, as hospitalizations were three times higher for those who were older than 50, according to NPR.

  • There are high levels of immunity from vaccination and previous infection.
  • “Other key factors for lower disease severity include infection-acquired immunity and potential lower virulence of the omicron variant,” researchers said in data published recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One more risk: There’s also the risk of long COVID-19, which happens when people have long-term COVID-19 symptoms. A new study out of Israel found that long COVID-19 symptoms are less likely in fully vaccinated people, but they can still happen in fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike, as I reported for the Deseret News.

  • “Here is another reason to get vaccinated, if you needed one,” said co-author Michael Edelstein, an epidemiologist at Bar-Ilan University in Safed, Israel, according to Nature.com.