WHO: ‘Omicron has a higher risk of reinfection’
By Keoputhy Bunny, News Editor
Originally labeled a COVID-19 variant of concern by World Health Organization (WHO) in late November, variant B.1.1.529 or more commonly known as the Omicron variant has taken the world by storm. There are 11 cases in Alberta at the time of writing.
According to WHO, preliminary evidence shows that Omicron has a higher risk of reinfection than other variants. More information is still being obtained, but this means that people who previously had COVID-19 are more likely to acquire the virus again with the Omicron variant.
In Canada, the variant has already set foot in multiple places, including Alberta, Quebec, Ottawa and British Columbia.
But it seems a little bit too early to tell if this variant of concern will bring about another, stronger wave of COVID-19. In an interview with CNN, Dr. Megan Ranney, professor of Emergency Medicine and associate dean at the School of Public Health at Brown University said it was too early to tell just how deadly Omicron is compared to other forms of COVID-19.
Even so, some countries have taken pre-emptive measures against the variant. At the time of writing, several countries including Canada and the United Kingdom have either banned or restricted travel to South Africa, where scientists first raised the alarm on the Omicron variant.
For now, WHO recommends that countries should keep an eye out and make sure people who are in disadvantaged positions are able to be kept safe and to also get their citizens vaccinated.
For the general public, WHO has recommended keeping distance from others, wearing a mask and staying away from poorly ventilated places.