By Anna Galaktionov
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in South Africa, is increasing tension in the U.S. as people are anxiously preparing for the upcoming holidays.
Many were hoping for a normal Christmas with jolly family gatherings and parties, but it seems like this year people could possibly be advised to remain cautious and continue practicing social distancing.
As of December 4, 2021, there were more than 20 cases of the Omicron variant reported in the U.S. These cases came from across the country in states such as Utah, Massachusetts, California, Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Hawaii, and more.
Most of the individuals who tested positive for the variant were fully vaccinated, experienced only mild symptoms so far, and are currently not hospitalized.
Although a few of the individuals traveled to southern Africa recently, some had no travel history at all. This means that the variant is currently being transmitted among communities in the U.S.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical advisor, confirms the transmission by telling Bloomberg Television, “we absolutely have community spread in this country.”
He reassuringly added that lab studies demonstrate that booster shots strengthen antibody protection against a variety of variants.
Although scientists are still investigating if the Omicron variant is more transmissible, contagious, and/or effective in overpowering vaccine immune protection, it has the potential to become severe.
Therefore, people are advised to follow updates on the variant, continue wearing face masks, and consider having another quarantined Christmas this year.