Sunday, July 21, 2024
Happening Now

Omicron Variant More Infectious, Less Severe According To CRMC Expert

Omicron cases have brought record numbers with the latest COVID surge.

CRMC Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mark Pierce said that while this variant seems to be more infectious, it also appears to be less severe.

“From some data that came out from South Africa, if you look at their waves where they had the original infection, then the Beta, then the Delta then the Omicron,” Pierce said. “Basically, the death rates for those were significantly higher than Omicron. And I think that’s really encouraging.”

Pierce said that while it can infect vaccinated people, this variant still primarily affects the unvaccinated. Pierce said that CRMC numbers indicate about 80 percent of patients are unvaccinated. He said before this variant, that number was around 90 percent.

Pierce said that with many other respiratory infections circulating, there’s no one symptom that separates them from COVID. He said that if you feel as though you’re symptomatic, it’s worth it to get tested.

“People talk about loss of taste and smell, but that can happen with other respiratory viruses as well,” Pierce said. “So you know if you’re in a family and everybody there has tested and has COVID and you have the exact same type of illness, you likely have COVID. But I think it’s still worthwhile to document it.”

Pierce said that the vaccine is still the best tool to defend ourselves against COVID. He said that if someone hasn’t been vaccinated and has had COVID to absolutely get vaccinated. If they’ve had COVID in the past and have been vaccinated, he suggests getting a booster to better improve their immunity.

Pierce said that social distancing and masks are also still great tools to help defend against the virus.