The Omicron variant should definitely be taken seriously right now. Since people are highly contagious and with the horrible symptoms of prolonged COVID-19, people should not ignore this new coronavirus variant.
The Omicron variant has proven to be more contagious than the standard COVID-19 infection. It is also possible that people who have been vaccinated still get it. Considering that the university, like many other colleges, still plans to have personal classes in the spring, with none vaccination or mask mandate, this is worrying.
After the holiday season, cases could go up, so students should wear a mask, one KN95 if possible and try to take social distance when they can. It is unfortunate that students will have to take their safety into their own hands if there are no mandates for social distancing or online classroom settings.
Fortunately, the COVID-19 vaccine prevents severe symptoms, death and hospitalization, so vaccinated individuals are likely to be better off with an omicron infection than unvaccinated people. However, the hospitals are still strained right now due to lack of beds and staff.
Because many healthcare professionals have tested positive for COVID-19, this is it contributes to the lack of staff. To remedy this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abbreviated isolation rules, so now people can go to work after five to seven days of isolation instead of ten. This is worrying as the main motivation is to get workers back instead of preventing proliferation.
The fact that the CDC reduced the isolation period for COVID-19 shows how serious this situation is. Hospitals do not have the staff to treat patients right now and while vaccinated people do more likely to have mild cases, unvaccinated people and immunocompromised people are more likely to end up in hospitals.
People need to be careful because hospitals will struggle, and with a shortage of staff and beds, hospitals may have to ration care which will lead to some people not getting the treatment they need because the majority of the resources will go to COVID-19 patients.
Vaccinated people may sound as if they do not have to worry so much with only a risk of a mild infection. However, even mild COVID-19 infections can cause prolonged symptoms such as shortness of breath or parosmi, which is when the odor is distorted.
Many people who have had COVID-19, even mild cases, will now experience horrible smells and tastes when they ate food that they used to enjoy. Some people now have to stop their noses while eating because the food tastes like sewage or waste to them.
This can make people Lose Weight as they do not feel like eating when everything tastes and smells awful. Taste and scent are a big part of everyday life, so losing or changing them can cause someone to feel depressed.
The bottom line is that the omicron variant should not be taken lightly. Students should wear masks, social distance and avoid going to superspreader events like conventions and concerts, especially if they can not avoid personal classes. If students are not vaccinated or boosted, they should make a plan to do so. Do not ignore the seriousness of this new variant.
Anna Baker is an English senior who can be met [email protected]