Just a week after news of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in South Africa and other African first emerged, cases were confirmed in a growing number of other countries around the world—including, most recently, the United States. At this point no deaths attributed to Omicron have been reported, but the fact that it is heavily mutated means widespread infection is likely, with “severe consequences” according to the World Health Organization. While several countries are imposing international travel restrictions, both Pfizer and Moderna have released statements echoing the WHO’s concern and acknowledged that it’s too soon to know whether existing vaccines will help stifle spread related to the latest variant. What is known is that the vaccines are effective against the virus itself and earlier variants, and therefore still the best proven protection. As such, urgent care operators would be wise to ensure that staff is vaccinated and aware of this growing threat, and that ample testing supplies are available in anticipation of more patients presenting with concerning symptoms.
With the Omicron Variant Already Here, Get Ready for Another Onslaught of COVID-19 Cases