TAMPA, Fla. — “Omicron’s rate of spread is much more rapid than any other variant’s rate of spread has been thus far,” said Dr. Jason Wilson, Associate Medical Director of the Emergency Room at Tampa General Hospital.
That’s why health officials are so concerned as COVID-19 cases quickly climb. They’re expecting a surge on top of the current one.
That nation’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci calls the omicron variant “extraordinarily contagious.”
“We will see a rise in cases. It’s almost a certainty that with the holidays we’re going to see a rise in cases,” said Wilson.
“That’s exactly what we’re going to see. We’ve seen it around the world in other countries,” said Dr. Paul Burton, Moderna Chief Medical Officer.
Data shows new infection rates are on track to exceed previous peaks.
Numbers show about 170,000 kids tested positive last week alone, an increase of about 28% in two weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said anyone with an omicron infection can spread the virus even if they are vaccinated or don’t have any symptoms.
“Everybody is predicting that after Christmas and the New Year there will definitely be increases in cases here in the U.S. and that will stretch our health systems, it will stretch our hospitals which are already burdened so it’s on us all to take those precautions, get boosted, get vaccinated,” said Burton.
Researchers are watching cases closely and collecting data to learn more about this record-breaking variant.
So far, while breakthrough infections are likely, the vaccines are still protecting against severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
“So far it looks like people who get the omicron variant, especially people who’ve been vaccinated or boostered, they don’t seem to get as sick as we’ve been used to with other variants,” said Wilson.