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How a new variant like omicron could help diminish pandemic


Even before omicron is detected in the tri-state, it’s already having an impact as it becomes one of the leading reasons for increasing vaccine demand.The upcoming holidays are still at the top of the list, but omicron has also become a major motivator. “We kept hearing about the variant,” said Tisha Neblett.She and her husband got their booster shots at the Hamilton County Health Department operation in Norwood Friday. They’ve seen the worst of COVID-19.“This COVID thing is real close and personal to me because I had a twin brother die of complications of COVID,” said Dale Neblett. His twin died last December before vaccines were available. It’s made his discussion with unvaccinated friends very direct.“I’ve talked to people, and I’ve said ‘if that’s what you want to do, you need to talk to the undertaker first,’” Neblett said.The fast spread of omicron has many concerned. However, scientists say the spread of a new variant doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be more problematic.“In theory, if it turns out this is highly transmissible but less virulent, less aggressive, that might actually be a good thing,” said TriHealth Dr. Stephen Blatt.Blatt is an infectious disease expert. He said, if a variant is more contagious, it could replace the more deadly variant and make people less sick.“That’s what some people have been predicting, that eventually, this virus would become what we call endemic,” Blatt said. “That would be the best of all worlds if it didn’t cause severe disease, maybe we wouldn’t have to worry about it as much.”It’s far too early to tell if omicron is that variant.Delta has been more contagious and has had similar rates of severe disease as the original version of COVID-19.Omicron has replaced delta as the most dominant virus in South Africa, but there isn't enough information to be reliable about the rate of transmission or how sick people might become.So far, those tracked with omicron have not had severe disease, but the sample size is small and made up of a young population that is generally less affected by COVID-19.

Even before omicron is detected in the tri-state, it’s already having an impact as it becomes one of the leading reasons for increasing vaccine demand.

The upcoming holidays are still at the top of the list, but omicron has also become a major motivator.

“We kept hearing about the variant,” said Tisha Neblett.

She and her husband got their booster shots at the Hamilton County Health Department operation in Norwood Friday. They’ve seen the worst of COVID-19.

“This COVID thing is real close and personal to me because I had a twin brother die of complications of COVID,” said Dale Neblett.

His twin died last December before vaccines were available. It’s made his discussion with unvaccinated friends very direct.

“I’ve talked to people, and I’ve said ‘if that’s what you want to do, you need to talk to the undertaker first,’” Neblett said.

The fast spread of omicron has many concerned. However, scientists say the spread of a new variant doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be more problematic.

“In theory, if it turns out this is highly transmissible but less virulent, less aggressive, that might actually be a good thing,” said TriHealth Dr. Stephen Blatt.

Blatt is an infectious disease expert. He said, if a variant is more contagious, it could replace the more deadly variant and make people less sick.

“That’s what some people have been predicting, that eventually, this virus would become what we call endemic,” Blatt said. “That would be the best of all worlds if it didn’t cause severe disease, maybe we wouldn’t have to worry about it as much.”

It’s far too early to tell if omicron is that variant.

Delta has been more contagious and has had similar rates of severe disease as the original version of COVID-19.

Omicron has replaced delta as the most dominant virus in South Africa, but there isn't enough information to be reliable about the rate of transmission or how sick people might become.

So far, those tracked with omicron have not had severe disease, but the sample size is small and made up of a young population that is generally less affected by COVID-19.


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