According to a report from CBS News, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has very quickly become the most dominant strain in the United States.
Reports indicate for the 40 million Americans who have not been vaccinated and have no intention of doing so, the outlook is not good.
Says Julie Wernau, the Health Reporter for the Wall Street Journal: “This is a very virulent strain and we see it sweeping across the US very quickly,” she explains, adding that it is possible hospitals could become overwhelmed because of the large numbers of unvaccinated.
“Another possibility is that this actually could produce more mild symptoms, and that would be helpful with the hospital situation.
“Unfortunately, just because there are so many cases, it comes on so fast, and hospitals have been dealing with staffing issues, the most likely scenario is that we’re going to have a lot of overwhelmed hospitals.”
A report from the UK confirms the risk of infection by the Omicron variant is over five times greater than the Alpha and Delta variants and four in 10 individuals who become infected and capable of spreading the Omicron variant are asymptomatic.
Wernau confirms individuals who were infected previously and later received a vaccine, as well as those who have been fully vaccinated and received a booster shot tend to have a greater resistance to the Omicron variant.
But, she explains, “If you already got COVID, and you’re thinking you don’t need to get vaccinated, this is not Delta or Alpha. It is a very different variant and it seems to know how to evade that kind of natural immunity.
In Ohio and Massachusetts National Guard Members have been activated to work in hospitals there as they are filling up with patients who have COVID.
Symptoms of Omicron COVID infection are not unlike a common cold. They include cough, fatigue and congestion or runny nose. As indicated earlier, for those who have been vaccinated, symptoms tend to be mild.
So far there has been only one reported death from an infection of the Omicron variant. The individual was male and in his fifties. He was unvaccinated.
As of December 22, there have been over 800,000 deaths in the United States. Just under 20,000 deaths have occurred in North Carolina, and 14,500 individuals have died in South Carolina. Worldwide, an estimated 540 million people have died as a result of the COVID pandemic.
Officials continue to urge those who have not been vaccinated to do so. If you have been vaccinated, check to see if you are now eligible for a booster shot.
A mask mandate remains in effect across all of North Carolina. While there are no travel restrictions inside the United States, a negative test result from some time in the previous 48 hours must be shown for those who want to enter the country.