We have come a long way since the first case of Covid-19. Despite the virus being inevitable, we were able to protect our loved ones and the world by following the standard rules, getting vaccinated, and standing together during those tough times.
However, not everyone knows that viruses constantly change through mutation. And, with one or more new mutations, they result in a new variant of the virus. The Delta variant and Omicron are the two variants of concern nowadays that are spreading more easily than other variants of corona-virus.
But, quoting Will Rogers, "Don't let yesterday take up too much of today," we will go ahead and learn about the Omicron variant, its symptoms, cases and the safety measures.
Covid-19 and its variant
The new variants of concern:
- Delta (B.1.617.2) is nearly twice as contagious as any other variant and was first identified in India.
- It can cause more severe illness.
- Though there is a huge risk of transmission among unvaccinated people, this infection's breakthrough can also be expected among fully vaccinated people.
- However, we must understand that vaccines still prevent hospitalizations, any severe illness, or demise.
- All FDA-approved or authorized drugs, medications, and vaccines are effective treatments that respond to almost every variant circulating in the United States.
- Omicron (B.1.1.529) - A variant that can spread more easily than the original virus and its variants, perhaps even the Delta variant.
- The very first case of Omicron was identified in South Africa.
- The Omicron latest news and few cases have revealed that it emits less risk to people in terms of being hospitalized than those affected with Delta.
- While the numbers show that the risk of hospitalization could be lower with Omicron, it still poses a threat that emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.
Omicron and its threats
What is the Omicron variant?
One of the variants of the coronavirus, Omicron, is raising concerns among the people and the government. Recent studies disclose that the variant is fast-moving but may be less severe than the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
However, these are some of the early cases, and hence, the researchers aren't sure and are unclear if it will hold true in the upcoming days or months.
Certain threats that are still expected from this variant:
- It is expected that Omicron will spread more quickly even if one is vaccinated or shows no symptoms.
- Scientists also believe that the mutation in this variant can evade the body's immune response.
- But, again, it is expected to pose less risk to everyone and may cause less serious Covid cases.
Battle Covid-19 This Winter
We have come a long way, and now we cannot back down. Since we see a rise in cases during winter, we must join together to battle Covid-19 and its variants.
It is notified that the United States will see more omicron cases in the days, weeks and months in due course. But, at the same time, we Americans shouldn't be locked in our homes. Instead, we need to encourage everyone and spread awareness regarding vaccinations, Omicron boosters, further testing, and much more to get the cases in control.
Words From Our Beloved President Biden.
With the emergence of a new variant, Omicron, the United States and its people are heading into winter.
With respect to that, President Biden has come forward and shared the recent news regarding the virus while discussing the plan that needs to be implemented by every American citizen.
To paraphrase our beloved President - With the early indications of the new omicron variant, it is surely a matter of concern, but it is not a cause for panic. Unlike the initial days of the coronavirus breakthrough, today, we are more prepared than ever and have the tools to protect ourselves and to deal with the challenges of COVID-19.
Instead of shutdowns or lockdowns of our schools and businesses, we need to abide by a winter plan that can battle the Omicron and Delta variants with science and speed while keeping our economy growing.
President Biden says we can refrain from further chaos and confusion to avoid any panic and indulge ourselves in his winter plan to spread awareness and safety against the virus.
Keeping every Americans’ best interest in mind, our President has come up with an effective winter COVID-19 plan and effective key actions to protect us when the viruses thrive.
The action plan
Boosters for all adults are compulsory to strengthen the antibody response of one’s body and protect against the new variant. Every adult must get an Omicron booster shot six months after being vaccinated (or two months after getting a Johnson & Johnson shot). While the government will be providing free booster shots and convenience at over 80,000 locations nationwide, the Biden administration will also be expanding the booster campaigns, initiating more walk-ins, contacting people on Medicare, and much more to spread the awareness.
Expanding and branching out free at-home testing for Americans is implied to ensure that every American has access to free at-home testing. The Biden Administration has taken significant steps to expand this process in the country, including free testing for people with private insurance and distribution through health centers and rural clinics for people with no insurance.
Omicron travel restrictions and stronger public health protocols are implemented for safe international travel. The Biden Administration has already taken immediate steps to restrict travel from the countries in the region where the variant was confirmed to be spreading rapidly. Also, with the initial implementation of stronger international travel protocols that involve foreign travelers being fully vaccinated, the President will take additional steps to enhance the safety of international traveling.
To keep up the business progress and protect the workplace, Joe Biden will not succumb to lockdowns. While vaccination can take care of your immune system, our President is moving forward and stating businesses to take preventative steps to protect the workers as we head into the winter.
Winter COVID-19 emergency response team and national volunteer emergency medical response are made available to support communities in need. As the whole nation heads into the wintertime, Joe Biden will make sure that the federal government is hopefully there again for us as they did earlier.
The new treatment pills - If and when the scientists and researchers come up with any new COVID-19 treatment pills meeting the FDA’s scientific standards, they will be accessible to every American irrespective of their income to zip code.
Recommended Action For People
Understanding the variant - We must understand the effectiveness of the vaccination shots and boosters that can help us to battle this new threat. There is still a percentage of adults who are yet to take the vaccine, let alone get the booster. Hence, this winter, it is our duty and responsibility as well to get the vaccination and the omicron boosters to strengthen our immune system and spread awareness for other unvaccinated individuals.
Keep The Schools Open And Get Our Kids Vaccinated - New actions are to be announced for kids aged five and older to get vaccinated. While the United States leads the world when it comes to vaccinating over 4 million children of 5-11 year age group and 15 million adolescents, President Biden aims to provide new actions to get kids vaccinated and keep the schools open while maintaining safety.
We call to use those free covid tests to ensure our safety and make sure that the economy isn’t affected by the variant.
How can I protect myself and my family from this?
As the President has mentioned, it is vital to understand that this situation does not call for a panic circumstance but only a concerning state. We all are supposed to take all the crucial measures to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus.
At this point, you must be worried about your family and their well-being. But, the following course of action can be taken to protect yourself and your family from this new variant as we head towards the winter months.
Make sure to:
- Consider opening windows in order to improve ventilation inside your house.
- Wash your hands frequently, properly, and regularly to stay clean of the virus as much as possible.
- Avoid any crowded space. However, when it comes to schools and workplaces, consider taking every preventive measure to avoid transmission of the virus.
- Try to keep a physical distance of at least 1 meter from your surrounding individuals.
- Make a note of wearing a mask most of the time, especially if you are attending a crowded area to cover your nose and mouth.
Effectiveness of prior covid infection
Many people are concerned about the effectiveness of the previous infection against the Omicron variant. Even though people recovered from COVID-19 may develop some natural immunity against the virus, it is still not confirmed if it protects you appropriately and how long it lasts in your body.
Therefore, it is best to get vaccinated even if you had Covid-19 since it offers more reliable protection.
Effectiveness of prior covid vaccines
With limited information on this concern, WHO reports that the omicron vaccine efficacy along with the currently available vaccines are far more effective and offer significant protection against any severe sickness or death from the virus.
The safety procedure of Covid-19
The general protocols ask you to:
- Wear masks in the public or workplace, especially during commuting, break or talking.
- Wash your hands frequently using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- In case of no soap or water, consider using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- One must avoid touching their eyes, mouth, and nose with unwashed hands.
- Maintain a distance of at least one meter with others.
- If you find yourself observing any symptoms of Covid-19, then instead of panicking, isolate yourself and contact your doctor or any healthcare provider.
How to talk to my child about the Omicron and other Covid-19 variants?
It is pretty natural for your child to be curious about the news of new variants and covid flooding the internet and news channels. It will be better for you to explain to them this complicated topic in a simple and straightforward way.
- You should consider explaining everything to them in an age-appropriate way to keep the situation positive for them.
- Your kid might have heard a lot of things; therefore, you need to create a safe space for them to share their response and fear about the virus. You need to be patient with them and try to resolve their fear while mentioning the precautions.
- It is better to explore together with your kid rather than guessing an answer if you are not sure of the response to their query.
- Sharing your fears with your child may overwhelm them since they take their emotional cues from adults. Hence, consider not to overshare your worriedness for them with them.
Sometimes it might get tough to retain children inside, and we take them to have some outdoor activities in our backyard such as bike games. It's quite understandable and somewhat necessary to maintain their mental health. However, make sure you follow all the necessary precautions to keep them and yourself safe.
People Also Ask
After monitoring and learning about Omicron, it is known that the limited information does not explain how well and quickly it spreads. Even though the new variant may spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, scientists and researchers are still unsure of its rate of spreading when it comes to the Delta variant. But, it is still expected that the current vaccines have the potential to strengthen you enough to battle it.
Omicron can be less likely to become a threat if the precautions and vaccinations according to the winter Covid-19 plan are correctly implemented. It may pose a global threat in the coming days, but we will be able to battle this new variant with the right tools and medications. However, it is still not determined, and more data is required to know if the infection from the new variant or reinfection can cause severe illness and death.
Vaccines, masks and frequent tests are the best tools to fight the Omicron symptoms and the infection in the current scenario.
- Vaccines remain the number one public health preventive measure to protect you from Covid-19 while reducing the likelihood of any new emerging variant.
- The scientists' current investigation and analysis of Omicron are in progress to understand how protective a fully vaccinated individual can be against Omicron.
- Therefore, it is highly recommended for people of 5 years and above to get fully vaccinated along with the Omicron booster for 18 years and older, six months after the COVID-19 vaccination series or two months after their initial J&J/Janssen vaccine.
The American citizens are somewhat glad that the recent announcements from our beloved President have stated that there will be no initiation of the lockdown period due to the new variant. It should be noted that President Biden has announced the effective Covid-19 plan for the winter months in order to battle the virus without deteriorating our nation's economy. This way, no one will miss their school, college, or workplace and can enjoy their day-to-day life while efficiently abiding by the effective measures laid out.
No study or research has yet proved that it can move faster outdoors than indoors. Nevertheless, we know that it can be transmitted, and therefore, preventive measures, from washing hands, sanitizing your personal belongings, to maintaining a distance in public, must be followed.
Pronounced as 'oh-mai-krawn,' Omicron's symptoms can involve cough, fatigue, and tiredness, similar to flu. A bad cold and runny nose can also be an Omicron symptoms. But, instead of panicking, it is better to visit your doctor and consider getting fully vaccinated.
We Can Fight This Together By Keeping Our Distance
To quote Diane McLaren, "Nature has given us all the pieces required to achieve exceptional wellness and health, but has left it to us to put these pieces together."
In this crucial circumstance, as we move into the wintertime, we expect to be positive and implement the winter plan for a better future for our family and us. This is the moment to get prepared and vaccinated to keep our family and our society and nation healthy and safe.