Updated: Jan 24
The Omicron variant is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the US, and newer information on this variant emerges by the minute.
So far, the information suggests that Omicron can evade the immune system, but the booster seems to be aiding in providing protection. As people plan to get together for the holidays, public health experts are concerned about the unprecedented surge in cases and hospitalization fueled by still slacking vaccination rates.
As per the CDC data for the week ending December 18, Omicron was responsible for 73.2% of new infections —compared to only 12.6% the previous week and under 1% the week ending December 4—with some states like New York and New Jersey crossing over 90%. While there are conflicting reports on whether Omicron causes milder or more severe infection, preliminary studies suggest that the booster vaccination kicks antibody levels up enough to be protective against Omicron. Also, many of the viral fragments that T-cells recognize aren’t the parts of the mutations in Omicron – a good indication that T-cell mediated immunity might work better against Omicron than neutralizing antibodies.
Furthermore, a yet-to-be-approved new pill from Pfizer seems to be working against this new strain, as well. We will continue to share any news we receive as further information on Omicron arises.