Omicron in the U.S.

Omicron in the U.S.
Microscopic view coronavirus omicron variant or B.1.1.529. 3D rendering

As 2021 comes to an end, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage on. Omicron in the U.S. brings new concerns with this pandemic as the Omicron Variant becomes a bigger threat to public health. The Omicron Variant’s highly transmittable nature has health officials concerned. Here’s what we know right now about Omicron in the U.S right now.

What We Know About Omicron in the U.S.

The first detections of the Omicron Variant were on November 11, 2021 in Botswana and on November 14, 2021 in South Africa. Since then, Omicron has spread to at least 27 countries/territories that we know of.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, preliminary findings suggest that there are no abnormal symptoms associated with Omicron that would differ from the other variants, like Delta. Some individuals with Omicron have reported to be asymptomatic.

The World Health Organization reports that the Omicron Variant has a large number of mutations. They also report that there is a high-risk for reinfection with this variant. Additionally, the variant is easily passed from one infected person to another. The variant’s high-risk for transmission is a concern for many. Health officials expect the variant to break records as cases are nearly doubling each day

According to the CDC, the first identified case of Omicron in the U.S. was on December 1st, 2021. Today, the Omicron Variant makes up approximately 90% of current COVID cases in some parts of the United States. While some areas, like New York City, are seeing higher rates of infection by the Omicron Variant, it is believed by officials that the variant will quickly spread to other parts of the country if proper measures aren’t being taken.

To locate any Omicron cases in your area, access this map.

Omicron’s Impact on the U.S.

The rise of cases in the U.S has begun to impact the normalcy of everyday life. While some people weren’t able to spend the holidays with loved ones due to being COVID-19 positive, others weren’t able to make it home to family because of flight cancellations.

According to the New York Times, over 1,000 flights in the U.S. have been canceled as a result of the Omicron variant. The virus has infected so many Americans, that airlines are left without crew members for the flights.

In addition to flight cancellations, some professional and college sporting events have been put to a halt as well. As team members have tested positive, a few NFL and college football teams have had to cancel games in the past two weeks.

This rapid rise in positive cases has also led several states to reimplement mask mandates in an effort to slow the spread.

At this time, there have been no statements made that suggest the country would see another lockdown in the near future.

What Officials are Saying about Omicron in the U.S.

As the number of cases rise each day, public officials urge the U.S. public to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical advisor, did an interview with NPR on the morning of December 27th urging people to take precautions. He states that the virus is on a vertical climb up, but is hopeful that this spike will decline soon, as it did in South Africa. Dr. Fauci believes that being vaccinated is essential in helping the number of cases decline.

“The problem in our own country [Steve], is that we have so many people who are unvaccinated, who are still completely vulnerable.” Says Fauci.

He goes on to mention that those who are vaccinated and those with the booster are at a lower risk for severe symptoms. He fears that if there are too many severe cases with unvaccinated individuals, that the country might see an overwhelming surge in hospitalizations.

The CDC has also released a statement for new national guidelines in response to the Omicron Variant. The updated guidelines request that exposed individuals need to take a COVID test that has the capability of detecting the Omicron Variant (SARS-CoV-2). The updated guidelines include a new recommendation on when an infected individual could return to work.The CDC also updated the definition of higher-risk exposure to include the use of a face mask by a healthcare professional, if the infected patient is not also wearing a facemask. The full statement on the new guidelines can be found here.

The Next Steps

The data shows us that the Omicron Variant is a clear threat to the U.S. public health. So what do health officials suggest we do to help prevent the transmission of the highly transmittable variant?

According to the CDC, there are a number of steps you can take to slow the spread of Omicron. These include getting vaccinated, getting a booster, wearing masks, testing, social distancing and hygienic practices.

According to The New York Times, nearly 62% of all eligible people in the United States have been vaccinated and about 19% have received the booster. The CDC encourages people to get vaccinated and states, “Vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging.”

Officials encourage individuals who are eligible, to get the booster shot. The data shows that the booster shot increases the effectiveness of the vaccine, and can help individuals to better protect themselves against the virus.

For the latest info on the Omicron Variant, continue to check back with us.

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