There’s a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It’s called the Omicron variant. It was first detected in South Africa and scientists are concerned that it’s more transmissible than prior variants. The reason? There are more than 30 mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that binds to human cells.
Omicron has been detected in eight countries so far. It has not yet been detected in the United States. Considering how badly we have responded to prior mutations, it’s only a matter of time until Omicron makes landfall in the United States, and dominates. It seems most people here have already transitioned to “getting back to normal” mode.
This pandemic is local
Something I learned during this pandemic is everything is local. It doesn’t matter what the country does to thwart the free flow of the virus that causes COVID-19. It doesn’t matter what your state does. What matters most is what your county does (or doesn’t do) to combat the pandemic. I live in Washington County, Maryland. The leaders of Washington County seem not to believe in the seriousness of COVID-19.
For example, even though the positivity rate in Washington County has hovered at ten percent for a long time, mask mandates and social distancing guidelines have not been implemented here. We know wearing masks and practicing social distancing help decrease the rate of infection. These tools help save lives. Our county leaders don’t want to implement these tools because they restrict our personal freedoms to infect our friends and neighbors with a highly contagious and deadly disease. Or something.
It’s only a matter of time before the Omicron virus comes to the United States. When it does, it will find Washington County, Maryland and its embarrassingly low 50.50% vaccination rate a pretty sweet place to hangout and prosper.