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New COVID variant, attitude in Mid-Michigan

New coronavirus variant, new attitude
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 5:27 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Although COVID-19 cases are still much lower than they were during the last surge, in recent weeks case numbers have started to rise again. However, this time people aren’t as concerned.

The BA 2 subvariant of omicron is spreading, and it’s spreading fast. The CDC announced the new variant is causing more than 70% of new COVID cases. But, unlike previous variants, health experts say we shouldn’t sound the severe surge alarms just yet.

Dr. Michael Zaroukian is Chief Medical Information Officer for Sparrow Hospital.

“In the next few months, we’re probably not going to have a major surge like we had over the winter,” Dr. Zaroukian said. “I think its pretty clear that that won’t be the case. But there very well may be some bump.”

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While the B.A. 2 variant is extremely contagious, there is some good news.

“The good news, if there is any with the Omicron variants, is that they don’t cause as severe disease as the Delta variant did,” Dr. Zaroukian said.

That’s because the new variant shares many similarities with both Delta and Omicron. Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail says the last surge could explain falling severe case numbers.

“Some people who have some immunity from past cases of that, as well and being up to date with vaccinations, are going to help a lot to some degree decreasing transmission,” Vail said.

That’s why they say it’s important to stay up-to-date with vaccinations. But that’s hard when the community seems to be less concerned.

Aaron Green, a prospective MSU student, is from Oregon. He says he can tell people are over it. Green said, “People seem to be done with completely, and want to move on and move on to the future.” He still wears his mask, even though he says it seems like he’s alone.

“I was a little bit surprised to see how few people were still wearing masks around here,” Green said. “But I can see why people are frustrated.”

Even with the burnout, doctors say it’s not time to put our guard down just yet.

“People certainly are tired of the restrictions that they either have self-imposed or have felt imposed on by others,” Dr. Zaroukian said. “That’s all understandable.”

The latest COVID case numbers are available on our weekly Coronavirus Report.

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