New Omicron COVID-19 Variant



With the new Omicron COVID-19 Variant, Hospitalization has increased by 10%.

Nathan Hadley, Editor

With COVID-19 still around and the Delta variant causing distress, the new Omicron variant feels like it will never end.


The Omicron variant was first identified by a group of South African scientists. 


The Omicron Variant has already been reported in over 30 countries and counting, and the United States reported their first case on December 1. The variant has been found in 20 states, including Maryland. Some Omicron Cases have already been reported in Australia to Hong Kong to Canada.


Media reports indicated that multiple of the confirmed cases were in vaccinated people, though South African doctors noted that the vast majority of the infected were unvaccinated.


While vaccines reduce your risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, it is not yet known how effective they will be against new variants that may arise, including Omicron.


All previous variants cause similar COVID-19 symptoms. Some variants, such as the Alpha and Delta variants, may cause more severe illness and death.


Hospitalizations from COVID-19 continued to surge in Frederick County over the weekend with 63 beds in Frederick Health filled with patients sick with the disease on December 12, an increase of more than 50% in five days. Of the 63 patients in the hospital, only 6 of them were vaccinated and the rest were unvaccinated. 


From February 2021 to December, the percentage of Americans less likely now than in February to wear a mask and avoid crowds have decreased. For example, avoiding non-essential travel in February 2021 for the whole population was 72%, but in December 2021 it decreased to 53%.


Staying away from large groups from February was 77% to December was 57%, Avoiding other people as much as possible from February was 66% to December was 41%, Wearing a mask when you’re around others from February was 82% to December was 57%.


All three U.S.-authorized COVID-19 vaccines appear to be significantly less protective against the newly-detected Omicron variant of the coronavirus in laboratory testing, but a booster dose likely restores most of the protection, according to a study released on December 14th.


The study from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that has not yet been peer reviewed, tested blood from people who received the Moderna (MRNA.O), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and Pfizer (PFE.N)/BioNTech vaccines against a pseudovirus engineered to resemble the Omicron variant.


The researchers found “low to absent” antibody neutralization of the variant from the regular regimens of all three vaccines – two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines or one of J&J’s single-dose vaccines.


With the new Omicron Variant, the Coronavirus seems like it will never stop ending. In order to keep up with the newly discovered variant, keep wearing your mask.