TAMPA, Fla. — Omicron is now the dominant variant of coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The variant was found in nearly three-quarters of COVID-19 cases, last week.
“It’s moving rapidly because it’s more contagious than delta or anything else that we have out there," said Dr. Doug Ross, chief medical officer at Advent Health Tampa.
The most transmissible variant is hitting at a time when families are gathering indoors for the holidays. Ross suggests getting a COVID-19 rapid test if you feel sick, even if you do not think you contracted coronavirus.
"The cold is out there, for example, the flu is out there," he said. "It would be better to know so you don't expose other people should you have COVID."
Early data gathered on the omicron variant shows most of those infected by the variant experience mild symptoms. Ross says the symptoms are sometimes similar to seasonal allergies or the common cold. However, the virus is shown to affect everyone differently, and Ross says it is still too early to tell how much damage omicron can do.
"Since we don't know yet, we should probably err on being more cautious," he said.
Ross says the best defense against severe infection is the vaccine and booster shot. If you are not fully vaccinated and under the weather over Christmas, Ross advises wearing a mask, keeping your distance from family members, and spending some time outdoors.
Even if you have your shots, Ross says omicron breaks through more than other variants, so the safer the better this holiday season.