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Talks of new COVID-19 variant Omicron has some concerned

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 10:49 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Little is known about the latest COVID variant but as talks continue so do concerns. With the first case now in the U.S., Wichita County health officials said it’s something they are keeping an eye on.

Even though it’s still in it’s early stages, some students at Midwestern State University are worried about how this new variant may impact life on campus.

“I would like to get the full experience of obviously a college graduate like walking the stage and things like that,” said Jaden Watson, student at MSU Texas.

“I feel like everybody should take a step back, wear a masks and be more careful. I’m going to start doing that again too,” said Anuguya Shiwakoti, student at MSU Texas.

There is not much information known about the Omicron variant that crossed U.S. borders into California from a passenger traveling from South Africa.

“We know that it has several mutations on it which means that the vaccines that are available may not be as effective as they are against the Delta variant,” said Lou Kreidler, health director of Wichita Falls - Wichita County Public Health District.

Kreidler said that could mean existing vaccines may need to be tweaked to fight against yet another COVID-19 variant.

“Even if it doesn’t fully protect against the Omicron variant, manufacturers are hoping that just like with the Delta, that it will protect against serious illness and hospitalizations,” said Kreidler.

Health experts who have been on the forefront of COVID-19 since the beginning believe masking back up, getting on board with booster shots and getting vaccinated is just as important now more than ever.

“As of today, we’ve already gotten more cases than we did all of last week. So we’re beginning to really see the effects of Thanksgiving and I hope people will heed that and take caution,” said Kreidler.

“I got both the Pfizer shots. I didn’t get the booster but I might plan on actually getting the booster since this new variant is out now,” said Watson.

“If we can stop the spread, I think this is the time to do so. I feel like it’s hard to find a balance but we should still try to find that balance,” said Shiwakoti.

Scientists said it could take two or three weeks before it can be determined if the new variant spreads more easily or makes people more sicker than the Delta.

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