Questions mount over latest COVID variant as Omicron spreads in Michigan

Questions mount over latest COVID variant
Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 6:38 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the omicron variant of COVID is now 3% of all new coronavirus cases.

As omicron spreads, the medical community and and doctors continue to learn more about the variant, but questions still arise.

Related: CDC panel recommends Pfizer, Moderna vaccines over J&J shot

Rupa Charles is an East Lansing resident who likes to stay informed when it comes to the latest COVID information. She said the new variant has raised a lot of questions.

“I feel like the information about Omicron specifically has been a little bit less than what we know about other variants,” Rupa said. “How protective is our normal vaccine against it, how transferable is it? How dangerous is it? Just kind of like those base questions I’d say are the things I’d like to know about Omicron.”

Dec. 15, 2021: Michigan reports 11,722 new cases, 330 deaths over past two days

Even medical experts are sharing similar concerns. As Michigan faces Omicron, doctors are still grappling with the delta variant. Dr. Peter Gulick, with Michigan State University, said the variant is so new that the medical community is still learning everyday about how to fight it.

“The other issue is will it evade the immune system better so that both natural immunity and vaccine related immunity will it not be as effective against control of this virus,” Gulick said.

The Omicron variant is believed to have more than 30 mutations, which means it could have the potential to be more transmissible. So far, symptoms reported include mild respiratory issues -- runny nose, mild coughing, sore throat. Many cases have been reported as mild, but Gulick said that doesn’t mean we should take our guard down.

“You have to remember a lot of the cases identified there were young individuals,” Gulick said. “We don’t quite know the full effects of this variant on other risk groups -- older individuals, individual’s immunocompromised -- that kind of a situation. So that’s what we’re trying to get more data on.”

Gulick said vaccinations and the booster are still the best bet when it comes to fighting omicron infections. While there’s a lot of uncertainty, Gulick said he’s hopeful that as the medical community continues to learn about the variant, they will learn how to fight it too.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.