‘We don’t know how widespread it is’: Doctors warn of new COVID variant


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — The Omicron strain has been confirmed in at least 14 countries since it was announced. It is a concern for doctors, especially here in Wisconsin.

“We don’t know how widespread it is,” said Dr. Dan Shirley, an infectious disease physician with UW Health. “In the meantime, we are dealing with a wave of the Delta variant right now in Wisconsin, so doing the things we can to do to decrease the community spread is super important.”

Because it is so new, there are many unanswered questions about the variant. The biggest being — will vaccines protect against it? Dr. Shirley says it is just too soon to tell.

“What are we looking for in that (particular) sequence? And that’s what’s been happening all weekend and today, with more countries saying ‘hey, we have some of these cases.'”

Doctors say it is no longer an if the strain will show up in the U.S., it is now a matter of when.

To keep yourself protect, Dr. Shirley maintains the best defense is to get vaccinated. If you’re eligible, you should get your booster, too.

“This is a good time with both the surge in Wisconsin, but also with these new variants, to get your booster if you’re qualified for it just because we know the immunity wanes over time,” he said.

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