Health experts look to answer questions on new Omicron variant

After a number of cases of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron appeared in South Africa, many are wondering what will become of this new variant?

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – After a number of cases of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron appeared in South Africa, many are wondering what will become of this new variant?

“They also look at, is this variant of concern causing outbreaks and other infections in certain settings? They noticed with this variant, they were having clusters of infection,” Dr. Renuga Vivekanandan, an infectious disease expert with CHI Health-Creighton University, said.

Still a lot of questions about Omicron and how it will impact the world when it comes to rate of infection and severity of illness. So far, there isn’t a definite answer on either of those, but the variant is labeled one of concern due to the number of mutations and the clusters already seen in South Africa.

Infectious disease experts say there isn’t a reason to panic but Omicron is just an emphasis on how important it is to protect yourself and others.

“I think one thing that we know for sure, for the past 22 months is that masking is very effective. You know, it doesn’t matter what variant, masking is able to keep those respiratory particles in and not spread it to others,” Dr. Vivekanandan said.

While doctors are still waiting to see if the vaccine is effective against Omicron, they say it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“If there’s a chance it can cause increased transmissibility, the time to deal with that is before you’re infected, or before stuff has established a firm foothold. We don’t want the days of canceling elective surgeries, and even some not so elective surgeries to come back,” Dr. David Quimby, an infectious disease expert with CHI Health-Creighton University, said.

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