The COVID Omicron Variant and What it Means for SWHS


Kyle Berson

The newly detected Omicron variant of COVID-19 is starting to spread within the U.S., and the CDC is recommending more pandemic restrictions as a response. What does this mean for South Windsor and its schools?

On November 26th, the World Health Organization discovered the Omicron COVID-19 variant, classifying it as a “variant of concern,” stating that “Researchers in South Africa and around the world are conducting studies to better understand many aspects of Omicron.” Although little is known about the variant, professionals say it is likely to be more dangerous than the current Delta COVID-19 variant.

The WHO also says that it’s likely you can be reinfected with the Omicron variant, even if you’ve had COVID-19 before, their website stating, “Preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron, as compared to other variants of concern, but information is limited.” The WHO also says, “All variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that is dominant worldwide, can cause severe disease or death, in particular for the most vulnerable people, and thus prevention is always key.”

One of the biggest concerns about the Delta and now the Omicron variant is whether current Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are effective against them. “WHO is working with technical partners to understand the potential impact of this variant on our existing countermeasures, including vaccines. Vaccines remain critical to reducing severe disease and death, including against the dominant circulating variant, Delta.” Due to limited data, it’s not clear whether vaccines are resistant against Omicron, yet vaccines still reduce the intensity of symptoms and chances of hospitalization and death by the virus. 

What does this mean for the local community? On December 4th, Connecticut “announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in Connecticut. Sequencing performed at the Connecticut State Public Health Laboratory confirmed the presence of the variant” Said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. The case was confirmed in Hartford County, very close to home.