I don’t think anyone who opened their news feed on Thanksgiving gave thanks for yet another COVID 19 variant, OMICRON.

Less than a week later it is a variant of concern and we know it is in the U.S.  We don’t know yet how serious it is or if our current vaccines will do the trick. And the stock market is reacting to that uncertainty.

I don’t usually post about COVID twice in one week, but…..

The last time I encountered OMICRON, was when I briefly pledged the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority during my freshman year in college.  I never went active and pretty much put all things OMICRON in my rear-view mirror!

Well, OMICRON is back in my (and your) life 50 years later.

Before this even happened, I had been pondering the coronavirus pandemic.  I have been trying to put this pandemic in the same box as our previous known influenza pandemics.  Since I was born, there have been 3 flu pandemics (1957, 1968, and 2009).  Everyone probably remembers H1N1 in 2009. 

There have been a number of comparisons made between the novel coronavirus and the Spanish influenza pandemic in 1918. 

While both pandemics have been caused by respiratory viruses, they are, in fact, different viruses. I did a little digging and it looks like there MIGHT have been a pandemic caused by a coronavirus in the late 1800’s, but that has never been confirmed (that I know of). 

So, I don’t think we really had a lot to go on regarding the possible duration, severity, and the best mitigation measures for our current coronavirus pandemic.  That being said, I have been amazed at the rapid acquisition of scientific knowledge regarding this new bug!  And I am in total awe of mRNA technology for vaccines.  I think Pfizer and Moderna have both said that they can quickly tweak our current vaccines to work against OMICRON.  That is a vaccine game changer, for sure!

So, until we know more about OMICRON, we are:

  • Waiting to see what happens with international travel – we have a one-day trip to Canada planned for later this month
  • Keeping our masks on indoors (thank heavens masks are required in Washington state)
  • Hanging out with fully vaccinated and boostered people (providing it has been 6 months since their second dose and they are eligible)
  • Keeping COVID 19 antigen tests on hand, just in case
  • Hoping that ‘this too, shall pass’!

Please vaccinate.  I have no desire to learn the entire Greek alphabet.

Sujay Kansagra, M.D.



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