COVID-19 Omicron variant: Infectious Disease doctor explains how coronavirus evolves

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 10:27 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -The Omicron variant can be found in several states across the country, now including Virginia.

“Despite the increased attention on the Omicron variant the most dominant strain of COVID-19 is the Delta variant,” the CDC website states.

“In the U.S. right now it is still 99.9% Delta. What has happened in South Africa is that there is a new even more transmissible variant called Omicron and that has replaced Delta in South Africa and we expect if the U.S. is like South Africa, we will see Omicron replace Delta,” UVA’s Dr. Bill Petri explained.

Some health experts believe that the Omicron variant could possibly lead to less severe infection.

Dr. Petri says there are three other coronaviruses that have evolved and eventually turned into the common cold.

“The thought is that each of these [coronaviruses] was a spillover event. Maybe from a bat into people. Eons ago in human history, there was probably a pandemic and the virus evolved to become less deadly. I think that that is all of our hope when it comes to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. That we will see an evolution to a less virulent form,” Dr. Petri said.

He says that may be happening with the omicron variant, but it is too early to know for sure.

The CDC says vaccines remain our best protection against the virus and can decrease the possibility of new variants emerging.

Read more about the Omicron variant by clicking here.

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