Omicron Variant Promises Uncertain Future

Omicron, a new COVID-19 variant, was discovered in South Africa on November 24. Since then, more than 20 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in the U.S. Those infected range from fully vaccinated to unvaccinated and vary in age. While some patients had recently visited southern Africa, many had not. This suggests further transmission of the variant in the U.S. 23 countries globally have also reported cases of Omicron including Germany, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Japan.
Experts are still working to determine whether this variant is more transmissible or deadly than the Delta variant of COVID-19. So far, those infected with Omicron in the US have experienced mild symptoms and none have been hospitalized. However, the World Health Organization stated on December 3 that earlier data implies that Omicron is more contagious than previous variants. At least one person who recovered from a previous strain of COVID-19 also tested positive for Omicron and one infected patient had already received their booster vaccine. The mild symptoms of patients who were fully vaccinated and tested positive also suggest that the vaccine shields the extreme symptoms of this variant.
Many have questioned whether this new variant will lead to a lockdown. While the Omicron variant is cause for concern, experts express that the country is in a much better position than it was last year, with 59.6 percent of the population fully vaccinated. However, Omicron and its effects on the country and the world are still widely unknown, and it is impossible to predict what will happen in the coming months.