Konstantin 'KVentz' Ventslavovic
Why There Are Concerns
The World Trade Organization’s labeling of the Omicron Variant as “High Risk” this Monday has sparked some worry in the public.
The variant recently emerged in South Africa, and has begun its spread in the Netherlands, Britain, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, Germany, France, Portugal and Australia. In response to its spread, various countries like the Netherlands have tightened their borders and reinforced both mask mandates and self-quarantine.
“This variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” said United States President Joe Biden prior to the arrival of Omicron to 15 US states.
As the holidays quickly approach some wonder whether traveling restrictions and bans will continue to rise.
Several sources claim Omicron to be “highly mutated” as it contains 50 mutations, 30 of which are “spike protein” mutations, indicating that the variant is transmitted more easily than previous variants such as Beta and Delta.
“Honestly, it’s scary because we’ve already been through this,” said senior Cypress Ranch student Audry Ramirez.
Such mutations may also indicate a possibility that the vaccines may lose their effectiveness against the virus due to them originally being made to combat the original strain of the virus. However, scientists have stated that the effectiveness of vaccines against the new strain is yet to be discovered and that not much is known about how badly the variant will affect the health of both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals.
What Is Recommended As the Spread Continues
This Tuesday the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has recommended vaccine boosters for adult individuals with ages of 18 and above. The CDC states that emergence of the Omicron Strain “ further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19.”
“I think the further we go with preventing people from getting sick the better for our community” said junior Cypress Ranch student Khanh Nguyen.
There are recurring discussions in the science community of whether boosters should also be available for teens of 15 years and older, but the public and some experts remain skeptical as to whether the boosters will be effective for both teens and adults.
“At the end of the day it’s not just for your own good but for the good of the whole community around you” said Khanh.