EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The delta variant was the most contagious strain of COVID-19 but that was before the omicron variant.
Omicron is to blame for nearly all COVID infections in the U.S. this month.
The rate of omicron infection is staggering and spurred some federal officials last week to say the variant will infect just about every American.
That leaves some questioning, is it better to continue to fight the virus or to just let it rip?
17,106 cases of COVID-19 reported Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) are fueled by the omicron variant, a virus strain that’s existed since late November; a strain that’s surged ever since.
“A lot of folks are getting what appears to be a very highly contagious, three to four times more contagious than previous variants of the coronavirus,” explained Dr. Gerald Harmon, MD, President, American Medical Association.
Many cases seem comparable to a bad cold. So, if becoming infected with omicron seems inevitable, why not just let it happen the way a California man’s father did.
“He is vaccinated he actually got the omicron variant I don’t know he just went out and said just bring it on, just bring on the covid and he got it,” said Riley St. James, whose father sought getting the COVID infection.
But health experts warn there is a definite danger in giving into pandemic fatigue and just letting omicron run its course unimpeded.
“We should all be doing what we can to avoid becoming infected with omicron. We should all be doing what we can to avoid being part of this transmission link with other people including our most vulnerable,” said Dr. Keri Althoff, Ph.D, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
And American Medical Association President, Dr. Gerald Harmon, cautions we’re still learning about omicron and its long-term effects to take a ‘let it rip’ approach. We do know an omicron-specific vaccine is in the works, possibly available this spring.
When asked if having an omicron-specific vaccine will even matter due to how quickly we’ve seen the spread of omicron, Dr. Harmon had this to say.
“Well, that’s a very good question and it’s a thoughtful question and I haven’t had somebody ask me that. But I’ll tell you my thought not as a researcher but as an office-based frontline physician dealing with it. I know that the current vaccinations do provide a substantial amount of protection against the omicron.”
Dr. Harmon compares getting vaccinated to law enforcement wearing a bulletproof vest.
They don’t wear the vest to prevent them from getting shot, but they wear it to prevent them from being killed by being shot.
To watch a video of the American Medical Association’s COVID Surge Podcast, released on Wednesday, click here.