Many Americans have started to return normal or at least a “new normal” since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But just because we’re now (grudgingly) back to our morning commutes doesn’t mean the pandemic is over.
As new Omicron sub-variants continue to swirl around the country alongside typically seasonal illnesses, like the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans to take precautions ahead of this holiday season.
Getting vaccinated and boosted remains one of the best ways to protect yourself against COVID-19 and serious illness, according to the CDC. However, the uptake for the new COVID-19 booster is still really low.
According to the CDC, as of November 4th, less than 9 percent of the U.S. population has received boosters.
As of now, boosters are still free, so if you haven’t already run to your local clinic or Walgreens to get one, now is the time.
We all know COVID-19 precautions can be a massive divide in families. But layering precautions that work for your family, such as testing, masking, moving activities outdoors, and ensuring good ventilation, can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
Knowing what variants are out there and what the symptoms look like can also be helpful.
Omicron, characterized by it’s high infection rate and its many sub-variants, is still the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States. The most common of those sub-variants is BA.5, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to the CDC.
However, newer Omicron sub-variants like BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 are also on the rise in the U.S. And another variant entirely, XBB, has accounted for a massive surge in cases in Singapore, according to the New York Times. However, cases are already significantly down, and the CDC has yet to report any cases of XBB in the U.S.
The good news is that, s0 far there isn’t evidence that Omicron sub-variants lead to more severe illness than previous iterations of the disease.
And according to the New York Times, symptoms are fairly consistent with previous variants. The most common symptoms include a mild runny nose, a headache, and a sore throat. If you’re feeling symptoms, the CDC recommends getting tested ASAP!
For those of us heading home for the holidays, it’s worth remembering that COVID-19 isn’t behind us just yet, even if we’re all feeling some serious variant fatigue.