What you should know about the Omicron variant


Ofelia Mattingly

Though the Omicron variant is not the main variant of COVID-19 affecting the U.S., it is still a variant of concern for U.S. citizens. Graphic by Ofelia Mattingly.

Ofelia Mattingly

COVID-19 made its first appearance in the United States in January 2019, with the disease slowly impacting the country until it hit full force and shut schools down in March. There have been many variants of COVID tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO) since then: Alpha, Beta, Delta and others. The list seems endless. 

The Delta variant, which came about around July 2021, is still the most infectious and widely concerned version of COVID. However, that may be replaced by the more recent Omicron variant. Just in time for the cold and flu season too. 

Here’s some information you should know about the Omicron variant. 

The CDC dubbed Omicron a variant of concern (VOC) on November 30, meaning that Omiron has the potential of being more severe and having a higher transmission rate than other variants. The first American case was announced on December 1. As of December 14, there’s been no Omicron cases reported in Kentucky.

There isn’t sufficient data to determine the extent and severity of having Omicron. The CDC has stated that Omicron is more likely to spread more easily than COVID-19, regardless if an individual has been vaccinated. 

The CDC does offer ways to mitigate the possibility of getting sick. 

  • Get your COVID-19 vaccination as “vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people.”
  • Wearing a mask can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the numerous variants of the virus.
  • Take COVID tests to make sure you’re able to take precautionary measures if you test positive.

The CDC is currently surveying the variant and will provide updates to the general public as soon as possible.