Mayo expert says Omicron could become new dominant variant

Local health leaders watch for omicron
Local health leaders watch for omicron
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 6:44 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Omicron could become the new dominant variant of COVID-19.

Mayo Clinic doctor Gregory Poland says as of Tuesday night, the new variant is in 19 states and will quickly spread to all 50.

Right now, Omicron is two to six times more transmissible than Delta. Preliminary studies suggest that Omicron is more infectious, but the people who do get it, are less sick.

Dr. Poland says the single best thing a person can do to protect themselves, is to get vaccinated and boosted. The next best thing, not instead of, is to wear a mask. Poland says that isn’t happening.

“The vast majority of people are not doing that. It’s as if we give a lottery ticket to the virus every time we go into a public place without a mask. It allows for infection. It allows for further mutation. And that’s why we are having the discussion we are having today,” he said. “And the one we had with Delta. And Gamma. And Alpha. There’s just no escaping it.”

Poland says the virus can no longer be eradicated. He compares it to the 1918 flu.

“Let me make this clear, we can no longer eradicate this virus and this disease. Your great, great, great-grandchildren will be getting immunized against this disease,” Dr. Poland said.

After the flu killed hundreds of thousands of people, we still continue to vaccinate ourselves from it in present day. Poland believes future generations will be doing the same for COVID-19.

Mayo Clinic experts are urging everyone to get vaccinated, because regardless of variant, vaccination works. For more information, click here.

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