Studies on the new variant are currently being done and analyzed

NATIONAL — The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week that the COVID-19 Omicron would likely become the most significant variant in the United States, but more vaccine boosters could help remedy a new surge; studies are currently being done and analyzed. 

“We now have about 86,000 cases of COVID, right now in the United States being diagnosed daily, and 99.9 percent of them, the vast majority of them, continue to be Delta—and we know what we need to do; against Delta… And those are very likely to work against the Omicron variant,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a recent interview.

Walensky said Omicron could become the dominant strain in the country, prompting the U.S. to step up its sequencing work to try and learn more about Omicron. There are now at least five states reporting cases thus far. 

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

In California, public health officials comment on the first case reported. 

“As expected, and thanks to California’s large-scale testing and early detection systems, the State of California and the San Francisco Department of Public Health have confirmed a case of the Omicron variant in California. Our partners at the University of California, San Francisco, identified this case through their sequencing capabilities. California is continuing to monitor the variant’s presence and progress through the state’s robust Whole Genome Sequencing surveillance.

According to reports, scientists have analyzed nearly 36,000 suspected re-infections in South Africa to look for any changes to re-infection rates throughout the pandemic, specifically those who have had the virus two or more times.

They have shown previously there was no surge in the risk of re-infection during either the Beta or Delta waves. 

Locally in San Luis Obispo, Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer, stated in a press release on Dec. 3, “It’s a matter of time before Omicron reaches our community, and while this is not cause for panic, it is cause for action. There’s much we don’t yet know about it, but we do know how to protect ourselves.” 

Borenstein went on to say, “While breakthrough cases are possible, it’s very likely that vaccines will provide protection against this variant. Now is the time to get fully vaccinated, so you will be protected in the months ahead. If you’ve been fully vaccinated and are eligible, now is the time to get boosted. This will also protect you against Delta, which is still the dominant strain,” 

“While it’s natural to feel frustrated and concerned at the news of a new variant at this unstable time, I want to remind our community that we are not powerless,” said Dr. Borenstein. 

Borenstein states that vaccines—both boosters and primary series—are recommended as a line of defense along with masks and staying home when one is ill.

Article was written in coordination with guest journalist Michael Robinson of timcast.com.