What’s next: Omicron COVID-19 variant and how to protect yourself

Coronavirus Local Impact

LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Concern continues to grow on Monday about the new Omicron variant linked to the coronavirus. 22News looked into its potential resistance to vaccines, and the best way to protect yourself from this mutation.

Just when we thought we were in the clear, a new variant of the coronavirus has emerged. The good news is there are no reported cases in the united states, but experts say it may already be here. Counties around the world are once again closing their borders, trying to keep the new omicron variant at bay.

the World Health Organization says the global risk of the new variant is “very high” and concerning. It was first detected in southern Africa last week, and has now been reported in countries around the world including our neighbors to the north in Canada where they have reported two cases so far.

“Despite the global alarm there is still little understanding about the variant and how virulent it may be. Scientists have cautioned that it’s still unclear whether omicron is more dangerous than other versions of a virus that has killed more than 5 million people worldwide. Still, Our local doctors say we should take extra precautions to keep everyone safe. I think it’s very likely that the vaccines that we have now will provide some level of protection against this variant and many other variants. We saw it with the delta and alpha variant. There may be some fluctuations in the level of protection but the vaccines that we have available are very good.”

Dr. Robert Roose, Chief Medical Officer at Mercy Medical Center.

Locals here in western Massachusetts aren’t taking any chances… despite the mutation not being reported in the United States. Sally DeJesus of Holyoke has two kids and is remaining vigilant.

“At this point we need to be careful. Mask wearing and good hygiene is important and still taking the same precautions.”

Sally DeJesus

If you are fully vaccinated, health experts now say that may not be enough and that you should also get your booster shot.

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