The recent COVID-19 variant, Omicron, has spread more rapidly among people than earlier variants, with the first confirmed case in the U.S on December 1, 2021. According to the CDC, people can spread Omicron even if they are asymptomatic or vaccinated. Typically, someone infected with the Omicron variant has a less severe case of COVID than the cases in the past. However, there is still a possibility of hospitalization from the variant. Nevertheless, it is crucial to continue to wear masks and ensure that people take the proper precautions, such as social distancing when possible and receiving the vaccine, which seems to prevent severe cases of disease.
Since February 9, 2022, the number of COVID cases per week has decreased by 42.8%. It is common for viruses to change over time and create different variants, Omicron being a prime example. As of January 28, 2022, a new subvariant, BA.2, has spread and is 1.5 times more infectious than the first Omicron strain. Although the BA.2 subvariant can circulate a lot faster than the original Omicron strain — also known as BA.1 — it does not seem to be more severe. There have already been over 100 confirmed cases of the subvariant throughout 22 U.S states. The symptoms of the new Omicron variant are similar to previous variants. With COVID-19 mutating at such a quick rate, the emphasis on vaccines and mask-wearing, among other precautions, should be at the forefront of our minds.