What You Need To Know About The Omicron Variant

After nearly two years, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause problems. And for many, sifting through the onslaught of information related to covid feels like an impossible task.

That task is now slightly more difficult with the discovery of the Omicron variant. Originating in South Africa, scientists have detected the Omicron variant in 57 countries.

Sorting through this new information doesn’t have to be scary. In this article, we’ll discuss what this new variant is, answer some important questions about it, and offer some ways Live Urgent Care can help.

What is a Covid Variant?

Covid-19 variants are slight mutations from the original virus structure. These small mutations happen naturally over time and occur in most viruses. One familiar example of this is the flu. New flu variants are discovered and researched each year, and this research helps in the creation of the annual flu vaccine.

Other covid-19 variants have previously been discovered, including the Delta variant. Each variant presents a slightly new structure that requires new research to make sure it is combatted properly.

Is Omicron More Contagious Than Other Variants?

This is one of the most important questions about the Omicron variant. While this variant has only been recently discovered, some preliminary research can provide some insight.

Currently, it appears that the Omicron variant is more contagious than previous variants. This chart shows how the Omicron variant has spread more quickly since its discovery than other variants.

Does Omicron Cause Worse Infection?

This is one area that will require more research. So far, experts seem to agree that Omicron does not cause worse infections. As time goes on, our picture of Omicron’s severity will round out.

It is worth noting, however, that Omicron can cause some different symptoms than we have grown used to with covid-19. For example, many cases have reported no significant loss of taste or smell with Omicron. This could make the variant harder to detect. 

Do Vaccines Still Work?

This question is where we get some of our best news. Thus far, initial studies indicate that vaccines are effective against the Omicron variant.

This research is very much in progress, and it appears that vaccines may be less likely to prevent infection. That said, vaccines remain effective at preventing serious illness from Omicron infection.

Where Do We Go From Here?

This new information can be alarming for some. But this does not mean we are starting over with the pandemic. Much of the information we have learned thus far remains helpful, even with the Omicron variant.

As of right now, the same precautions you have been taking should remain in effect. Social distancing and mask-wearing remain effective at preventing covid transmission. And covid vaccinations are incredibly helpful at preventing serious illness.

Live Urgent Care Can Help

At Live Urgent Care, we can help in a variety of ways. Each of our locations offers rapid antigen and RT-PCR covid testing. Our tests will not be able to tell if your infection is the Omicron variant, but the same course of treatment is useful on all strains of covid-19. You can learn more about our covid testing and book an appointment for your test.

New variants pose new challenges, but Live Urgent Care is here to help with fast, friendly service for all your covid testing needs.

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