Health professionals tell the public not to panic over new COVID-19 variant

Doctors say it’s too soon to know whether the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is a reason to worry. The Delta variant muscled out other COVID strains over the summer. But in South Africa, where scientists first sequenced Omicron, it’s been able to out-compete Delta. Nir Menachemi , health policy and management chair of IU’s Fairbanks School of Public Health, says the fact Omicron is able to crack Delta’s dominance “raises an eyebrow,” but that’s not the same as saying it’s more dangerous. Menachemi says it’s not clear yet whether Omicron is more easily transmitted, nor whether the illnesses it causes are more severe. He says it’s likely to take three or four weeks to get those answers.