Whereas scientists work to seek out out the effectiveness of present vaccines towards omicron, Dr. Michelle Barron says this does not change how we combat the virus.
DENVER — Dr. Michelle Barron is the senior medical director of an infection prevention and management for UCHealth and a member of the Colorado Governor’s Knowledgeable Emergency Epidemic Response Committee. 9NEWS spoke together with her Monday about what we all know thus far in regards to the omicron variant.
(Editor’s observe: This interview has been edited for context and readability.)
9NEWS: What’s the concern with the omicron variant?
Barron: It does look like extra transmissible, or at the least as transmissible as Delta. So fairly simple to catch it. The pattern dimension they checked out was type of small, solely 100 individuals, so I feel we nonetheless do not have a full view on how widespread it’s.
Ought to the detection of this variant change our strategy to the pandemic?
Barron: As soon as omicron is discovered right here, it shouldn’t change what individuals needs to be doing already. Masking continues to be extremely efficient. Our vaccines are nonetheless crucial by way of mitigating transmission of this specific virus, whether or not omicron or in any other case.
Ought to we nonetheless be specializing in delta?
Barron: We must always nonetheless be specializing in delta. We all know delta is right here. We all know delta is hospitalizing sufferers. We all know delta is inflicting individuals to grow to be sick. So whether or not or not omicron turns into one other variant we have to acknowledge, I feel the right here and now means that delta continues to be in play, and till it is not, that’s the place our vitality needs to be centered.
Why do variants grow to be extra profitable than others?
Barron: Variants of viruses are always creating, and most will not be profitable. Typically, they’re not transmissible sufficient, or they’re overwhelmed out by a stronger variant. It’s type of like survival of the fittest, on a microscopic but worldwide scale.
And if omicron is extra transmissible than delta, would delta go away?
Barron: If omicron proves to be extra transmissible than delta, it’s attainable that it could substitute delta and grow to be the dominant pressure of COVID-19. That is what occurred in spring of 2021, when alpha changed the unique COVID-19 pressure, and once more this fall because the delta variant changed the alpha variant. Proper now, in Colorado, about 100% of the instances we’re seeing are from the delta variant. After all, it’s additionally attainable that omicron gained’t achieve success. Beta, epsilon and different variants have popped up, then disappeared as stronger strains of the virus have taken over.
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