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LCO Chief Doctor Says Omicrom Variant More Contagious But Milder Symptoms

Steven Miszkiewicz MD

Medical Director

Lac Courtes Oreilles Community Health Center

There have been at least 2 dozen known “variants” of the original Covid virus. A variant is simply a version of a virus that has changed (mutated) a portion of its structure. Sometimes these changes result in a virus that is more contagious or more harmful to humans and sometimes it has the opposite effect. There are more variants that have “died out” than there are that go onto to become dominant strains like Delta has become.

The latest variant that the WHO has identified as “of concern” has been named Omicrom. This one was identified in South Africa where it has not caused any known deaths as of yet. In addition while it may be more contagious, symptoms, at least for now are milder. There is no current reason at this time to be concerned that Omicron will become the next dominant strain.

In addition: Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said, "Let me be clear, there is no data at the present time to indicate current vaccines would not work."

However, anyone unvaccinated or not boosted will or should be concerned about Covid in general. Please remember that social distancing, hand washing, masking and VACCINES work! We will continue to offer vaccines at LCO Community Health Center please call 715-638-5100 for an appointment.

The following is attributable to CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky

Today, CDC is strengthening its recommendation on booster doses for individuals who are 18 years and older. Everyone ages 18 and older should get a booster shot either when they are 6 months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or 2 months after their initial J&J vaccine.

The recent emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19. Early data from South Africa suggest increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, and scientists in the United States and around the world are urgently examining vaccine effectiveness related to this variant. I strongly encourage the 47 million adults who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to vaccinate the children and teens in their families as well because strong immunity will likely prevent serious illness. I also want to encourage people to get a COVID-19 test if they are sick. Increased testing will help us identify Omicron quickly.


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