Omicron, the newest Covid variant to impact our country, is more attractive than original Covid and the Delta variant. But even though it looks like a Christmas ornament, don't be fooled.
It appears Omicron could devastate Oregon in the coming weeks. So says an excellent Oregon Capital Chronicle story, "Governor, health experts brace Oregonians for a serious impact from Omicron by February."
In the past week, the Covid-19 outlook for Oregon shifted dramatically, with the state now facing the prospect of having the highest surge yet of infections and hospitalizations.
A new forecast by Oregon Health & Science University indicates that more than 3,000 people would need to be hospitalized in Oregon by early February, surpassing the 1,200 hospitalized during Delta’s peak.
If that develops Oregon will not have enough hospital beds for everyone who needs one and hospitals will have to decide who to treat.
“We’re seeing all the pieces we need to say that it could be bad,” Peter Graven, director of OHSU’s Office of Advanced Analytics, told the Capital Chronicle after a news conference Friday with Gov. Kate Brown and Oregon Health Authority officials.
The dire forecast stands in contrast to general expectations that Omicron would be little worse than a bad cold while the Delta variant continued to fade.
Earlier projections expected infections in the state to continue declining, but Graven said he noticed an uptick in Covid-19 cases. He said he received new information in recent days from Kentucky, Washington state and Denmark that led him to calculate that Omicron could become the dominant strain in Oregon in two to three weeks.
Governor Brown isn't planning any new Covid restrictions at the moment, but she leaves open that this may be necessary. Getting a booster shot into the arms of as many Oregonians as possible is the main public health approach that needs to happen now.
Hopefully people in Salem, and elsewhere, will realize that Omicron shouldn't be taken lightly.
Omicron spreads much more rapidly than original Covid and the Delta variant. So even if cases are milder on the whole, with so many people slated to come down with Omicron, serious cases are going to rise markedly.
Today I went to exercise at the River Road branch of Courthouse Club Fitness. I always wear my mask the whole time I'm at the gym. However, most of those at the club don't. Before, this bothered me. With the rise of the Omicron variant, I'm more irritated by the maskless people.
Because most of the elliptical trainers were being used in the aerobics room, I had to use a machine in-between two maskless guys exercising away. As soon as one of them finished, I moved to a machine further away from the other maskless guy.
I understand why people are getting complacent about wearing a mask in indoor public spaces where you don't know the vaccination status of others in the area. But this isn't the time to get more lax. The rise of Omicron (which sounds like a super-villain movie) demands increased vigilance.
Here's a series of tweets by physician Bob Wachter today that do a good job of explaining what's currently known about Omicron and how we should react to it.