Omicron concerns rise in Michigan as we near the holidays

Posted at 5:52 AM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 06:13:40-05

(WXYZ) — As cases of the omicron variant continue to pop up in Michigan, experts predict a storm of infections could be just around the corner.

A new study from the CDC said that people without a vaccine are 10 times more likely to get COVID-19 and 20 times more likely to die from it. Those stats come as Michiganders and people around the world are set to visit family for the holidays.

Right now, the state is facing a battle with the delta variant and the omicron variant. Delta is still driving a majority of hospitalizations, while experts say omicron is spreading faster and infecting more people. Doctors say having all three of your COVID-19 vaccines is the best way to avoid getting sick.

Nearly 40% of Michiganders remain vulnerable to COVID-19 after refusing to get vaccinated. Some experts fear the new omicron variant could bring our biggest infection surge yet.

So far, there have been omicron cases confirmed in several counties, including Oakland and Wayne.

"Given this easy spread, these are going to be cases that aren't going to stand alone for very long," Dr. Molly O'Shea with Birmingham Pediatrics said.

On Friday, the state reported 12,649 new cases of COVID-19 and 254 new deaths.

O'Shea said being vaccinated provides decent protection, but being boosted is the best bet against the variants.

"If you received your booster, you do have a better chance of not getting sick from omicron," she said. "We know that if you've had COVID-19 and have gotten the vaccine, you have a better chance of not getting sick from omicron."

With more infection than holiday cheer in the air, some wonder if it's even safe to spend time with family.

The CDC said if you're unvaccinated, you shouldn't travel.

"If anybody has any symptoms, testing on the day of the event makes sense and rapid tests are fine for that. You can still do them at home and you can determine whethr or not somebody should participate."

She also said that people should be careful while out in public.

"Even if we don't take omicron into the equation right now, delta is still a huge player in our community and wearing masks while you're out makes sense," she said.

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