TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The omicron variant is the newest COVID-19 strain. Now that the first case has popped up here in the United States, some leaders are looking to create new mandates, while Texas will remain the same.
“Well I can tell you in Texas we are ruling out vaccine mandates, we’re ruling out lock down, there’s no need for things like that,” said Gov. Greg Abbott.
Due to omicron being a new strain, doctors don’t know the impact it might have on us.
“It’s got something like 30 different mutations, which is a pretty high number and unfortunately may make it highly infectious,” said Tom Cummins, Chief Medical Officer of UT Health East Texas.
According to experts, the omicron variant may be highly infectious, but not as severe as the delta variant. Health experts say the strain could spread quickly.
“I feel reasonably certain there have been many more that we just didn’t know about and probably are many currently,” said Cummins.
Many researchers believe COVID-19 keeps mutating because of a combination of vaccination hesitancy and lack of resources throughout parts of the world.
“Omicron may not respond as well to the vaccine. We’re still seeing large numbers of delta variant, it’s still the dominant variant here in the United States. We know the vaccine works against that,” said Cummins.
East Texas leaders say the best way to not spread omicron is to protect yourself.
So far no one has died from the omicron variant, and it’s still unknown whether it will infect people at a faster rate than the delta variant.
Right now the delta variant remains the most active strain in Texas.
“Get vaccinated, if you’re do for a booster get your booster, wear a mask, avoid crowds avoid large indoor groupings, wash your hands… all the same things that prevented all the other variants,” said Cummins.