Island Senior: Healthy Holidays and the COVID-19 Variant Omicron

Posted December 1, 2021 at 5:50 am by

“Island Senior” is a reg­u­lar col­umn on the San Juan Update writ­ten by Peg­gy Sue McRae…

Click to enlarge

Cel­e­brat­ing Thanks­giv­ing with friends, all of us dou­ble vaxed and boost­ered, we enjoyed a relax­ing evening with­out wear­ing masks. In spite of win­ter spikes in local num­bers of COVID cas­es it was begin­ning to look like we might be approach­ing the end of this oh so weari­some pan­dem­ic. Then BOOM along comes omi­cron, a new COVID variant.

Sud­den­ly in air­ports around the world flights were can­celled and some bor­ders were closed.  By the time you read this we will know more about this new twist in the pan­dem­ic fore­cast. Briefly, accord­ing to Dr. Fau­ci, Chief Med­ical Advi­sor to the Pres­i­dent, the new omi­cron vari­ant first appeared in Botswana and South Africa in mid-November.

What raised con­cern about the omi­cron vari­ant was its rapid spread in South Africa. And the list of coun­tries where the vari­ant has been detect­ed is steadi­ly increas­ing. While as of Tues­day this list does not include the Unit­ed States, it has been found in Cana­da and is very like­ly already in the Unit­ed States.

Even if this new vari­ant com­pro­mis­es the effec­tive­ness of our vac­cines, the vac­cines remain our great­est pro­tec­tion and strength­en our immu­ni­ty so that even if we do get COVID it will be less severe and less like­ly to kill us. Dr. Fauci’s advice for con­fronting omi­cron will sound familiar:

  • get vac­ci­nat­ed
  • get boost­ed
  • use masks
  • avoid crowds and poor­ly ven­ti­lat­ed spaces – choose out­doors rather than indoors when possible
  • keep your distance
  • wash your hands often
  • and when appro­pri­ate test and isolate

The good news is vac­cines, and boost­ers, are read­i­ly avail­able. If you were ful­ly vac­ci­nat­ed by June you can get a boost­er shot now. There will be more COVID-19 vac­ci­na­tion clin­ics on the island in Decem­ber (check link below).

For your own peace of mind, for your fam­i­ly and loved ones, for your com­mu­ni­ty and those more frag­ile than your­self, please get vac­ci­nat­ed. If you already have, thank you. Have a beau­ti­ful, safe, and healthy hol­i­day season.

San Juan Coun­ty Health & Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vices – COVID Vac­cine Info and local clinics

 

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