Here's Who's Getting Omicron Now
COVID numbers are down in the U.S., but with a surge happening in Europe and Asia, experts warn we could see an uptick in cases. "What we're seeing in Europe, and particularly in the U.K., is something we really need to pay attention to because they are starting to see a reversal and a resurgence of cases," Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House, told "GMA3" on Friday. "So even though our cases are continuing to come down, I would not be surprised if in the next couple of weeks … that we might well see an increase in cases." Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health, and Saint Mary's Hospital who explains what to know about Omicron right now and who's at risk for getting it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
With Omicron Surging Overseas, Can the U.S. Expect Another Wave?
Dr. Curry-Winchell shares, "The increase in cases could be a warning sign the U.S. will face another Omicron surge. In the past the U.S. has experienced a surge approximately four to six weeks after a rise in cases in Asia and Europe. The recent variant B.2 subvariant is extremely contagious however, on a positive note it's not associated with an increase in lethality. It's important to keep a close eye on the effect this new variant has on hospitalization and death rates."
Why is Omicron Still Spreading?
According to Dr. Curry-Winchell, "Due to the variant being highly contagious and the overall low vaccination and booster rate it has allowed the Omicron variant to spread quickly. Vaccination provides an additional layer of protection by decreasing your risk of severe disease, hospitalization, complications associated with long covid and death."
Who is at Risk for Omicron and Why?
"If you are unvaccinated or vaccinated and without a booster (if eligible) you have an increased risk of contracting Omicron," says Dr. Curry-Winchell.
If You've Had Omicron, How Long Do You Have Immunity For?
Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, "It varies, the exact length of time for natural immunity is unknown. One study reported the Omicron variant is very efficient at evading the immune system which increases the risks of reinfection. The duration is unknown and may depend upon factors such as previous COVID-19 infection, vaccination, or booster status."
Why Are People Who Are Vaccinated Getting Omicron?
"The COVID-19 vaccination helps decrease your risks from severe disease, hospitalization, and possible death. When you receive the vaccine, your body receives a 'recipe card' to fight COVID-19 if it was to ever come into contact," says Dr. Curry-Winchell. "And if or when you encounter the virus, that recipe card gives your body a head start in battling the disease because it now has the blueprint from the vaccine on how to fight the virus. The vaccine gives your body the extra ammo needed to fight the coronavirus."
What Do People Need to Know About Omicron Right Now?
Dr. Curry-Winchell states, "You will encounter COVID-19 or one of its variants like Omicron. Getting vaccinated plus boosted and seeking out testing if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms is vital."
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.