Omicron – The Newest Covid Variant

A new variant of Covid-19 was discovered in Botswana in early November

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Via Getty Images

A digital rendering of the Omicron Variant

On December 1, 2021, the first case of Omicron was confirmed in the United States. It has been found that the Omicron variant multiples 70 times quicker than the Delta variant, making it more contagious. Michael Cahn Chi-wai, a scientist from Hong Kong, observed that this new variant attacks the bronchial tissue as opposed to the lungs as seen with cases of the Delta variant. 

Some scientists feel that this variant could be less severe than the Delta variant. Though Omicron is more transmittable, having less of an impact on the lungs can be promising; however, more studies are needed to come to a final conclusion as this new variant is not thoroughly researched. Many scientists want to study the viral loads of recently infected persons to draw a definitive conclusion as to how dangerous the omicron variant is.  

So far many states have reported positive cases of Omicron. However, States such as Maine, Vermont and Kansas have not had any confirmed cases. New Jersey has had reported 2 cases of Omicron at the time of writing. Currently there are about 1,730 patients hospitalized with Covid in New Jersey.  This is the highest number since April, but compared to a year ago we are down from approximately 3,660 hospitalizations. 

Along with the new variant and first doses of vaccines wearing off, many doctors and government officials are urging people to receive booster shots as cases among fully vaccinated people are increasing. 81 percent of the population in N.J. has received at least one dose of the vaccine. About 1 in 6 individuals in the U.S are fully vaccinated. That is roughly 55.1 million people.  

Amidst the holiday season, many are concerned about the spread of covid, especially with the new variant.  Many states have seen an uptick in cases since Thanksgiving. However, there are several easy ways to keep safe: wash your hands, wear a mask, and consider speaking to your doctor about vaccine options and booster shots.