Omicron Variant: What We Know
What We Know about Omicron
CDC, state and local public health officials are working to monitor the spread of Omicron. As of December 20, 2021, Omicron has been detected in most states and territories and is rapidly increasing the proportion of COVID-19 cases it is causing. CDC is expecting a surge of COVID-19 cases in the coming days to weeks. CDC with global public health and industry partners are working to learn more about Omicron. We don’t yet know how easily it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, or how well available vaccines and medications work against it.
The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur.
Scientists are working to determine how well existing treatments for COVID-19 work. Based on the changed genetic make-up of Omicron, some treatments are likely to remain effective while others may be less effective.
Tools to Fight Omicron
Vaccines- Best Public Health Measure
Vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging
- COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death
- CDC recommends that everyone 5 years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated.
- CDC recommends that everyone ages 16 years and older get a booster shot after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series. You are eligible for a booster at 5 months after completing Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, 6 months after completing Moderna primary series, and 2 months after the initial J&J/Janssen vaccine. Individuals ages 16-17 are only eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Mask Offer Protection
Masks offer protection against all variants.
- CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status.
- CDC provides advice about masks for people who want to learn more about what type of mask is right for them depending on their circumstances.
Tests and COVID-19
Tests can tell you if you are currently infected with COVID-19.
- Two types of tests are used to test for current infection: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests. NAAT and antigen tests can only tell you if you have a current infection.
- Individuals can use the COVID-19 Viral Testing Tool to help determine what kind of test to seek.
- Additional tests would be needed to determine if your infection was caused by Omicron.
- Visit your state, tribal, local, or territorial health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.
- Self-tests can be used at home or anywhere, are easy to use, and produce rapid results.
- If your self-test has a positive result, stay home or isolate for 10 days, wear a mask if you have contact with others, and call your healthcare provider.
- If you have any questions about your self-test result, call your healthcare provider or public health department.
Information gathered from CDC website -