There is an increase in the worry regarding the pandemic once again with the emergence of the new Omicron variant. Many people are worried about the plans that they have already made for travelling. The Omicron was first reported on November 24th to the WHO or the World Health Organization.
What is Omicron?
Omicron is the latest variant of the SARS-CoV-2. This new variant of the novel corona virus was first discovered in the beginning of November 2021 in samples that were taken from South Africa and Botswana. WHO named this the variant on November 26th and determined it as variant of concern. The United States followed course on November 30th, with the first U.S. case being identified the following day.
Understandably, there is a lot of concern if this new variant is going to be more contagious and cause more harm than other variants. People also have doubts and questions regarding the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 treatments and vaccines against Omicron.
How Omicron is Affecting Everyone?
Almost everyone is aware of the Omicron variant and are concerned about this new danger in their lives and this new variant has affected peoples hope and morale. However, there are a minority of people who are not too worried about the Omicron variant. Majority of the population has gotten the covid vaccine with many of them also getting the booster shot.
In a survey taken, many people have decided to curb their travel plans; whereas, some have decided to continue with their travel plans whilst keeping an eye on the omicron/COVID-19 situation.
Common Concerns Regarding the Omicron Variant
Given below are some questions asked by concerned people all over the world regarding the Omicron variant:
Is Omicron Variant More Contagious?
Many are concerned about how contagious Omicron would be. Based on the current data, it is thought to be more contagious and about 30 to 300% percent more than the Delta variant. Delta variant is highly contagious according to the CDC.
When It Comes To The Omicron Variant, What Is The Efficacy Of The Covid-19 Vaccines?
Majority of the people wanted to know the efficacy of the covid vaccine against the omicron variant. According to experts, nothing can be determined concretely as of yet. It is still too early to determine the effectiveness of the covid vaccine against the omicron variant. The only concrete information which the experts know is that the convalescent people are at higher risk to be infected with Omicron variant when compared to other variants.
According to CDC vaccines are expected to protect against acute illness, hospitalizations and mortality deaths from COVID-19. However, there is also a chance of having breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated.
What is the Severity of the Symptoms of Omicron Variant?
According to CDC, more data is needed, particularly regarding breakthrough infections and re-infections and also in people who are fully vaccinated before it can be determined if the omicron virus can cause more illness and mortality than other variants. However, the good news is, up till now it doesn’t look like Omicron is causing more severe disease in people when compared to other types.
Is There Any Way To Decrease The Risk Of Omicron During Travel?
Medical experts strongly recommend and advise against travelling anywhere unnecessarily. However, if travel is mandatory for you, then one should take extra precautions before starting on your journey such as:
- The old precautions still apply, always wear a mask when stepping outside; make use of sanitizers; and maintain social distancing.
- Visit the travel advisory page of the State Department for the latest information about the destination which you are travelling to along with reading about the information that are country-specific regarding the travel restrictions and other requirements about COVID-19.
- Visit the travel advisory website of CDC to learn about the information about the current status of the covid pandemic at the place you are travelling to.
- Sign up for the STEP program from the State Department which will give you updates regarding the State Department travel advisories. Along with this, any emergency notifications will also be given by the U.S. government.
- Always check with the tourism bureau or the foreign ministry at your destination to check the current travel requirements and restrictions.
- To keep up with the current news, make sure to set up a Google alert for the place you are travelling to.