With talk surrounding the recent discovery of the Omicron variant, doctors continue to preach similar COVID-19 precautions.
While the Omicron variant is the newest concern, the reality is other variants and mutations of COVID-19 already exist in the United States.
Local doctors say the only way to combat new mutations of COVID-19 is by remaining vigilant with previous protocol and getting vaccinated.
“The vaccines have been proven to work against previous variants. We don’t know exactly the data with this one, but there is no reason to believe it wouldn’t have some effectiveness at a minimum,” said Tenet Health Intensivist Physician Justin Grammy.
Grammy said wearing masks, even if vaccinated, helps decrease the spread of the virus.
“By doing so, it will decrease any sort of mutations in the future,” said Grammy.
Grammy said social distancing and having good hand hygiene will play a prominent role in beating the virus.
“Every time we have a variant, it is because the virus finds an incubation area to start replicating, whether it is someone not vaccinated or populations that don’t wear masks in vaccinated people, and that gives the virus the ability to keep on coming after us,” said Grammy.
Grammy encourages vigilance with the protocols put in place.
“By being vigilant with masks and vaccinations, we will stop hearing about these variants. It’s been a long time that we’ve been fighting this virus but we’re getting there, we’re getting closer and closer to the finish line, and if we hold these standard practices then we can get there sooner,” said Grammy.
SLO County Public Health said there is still much unknown about Omicron variant, however, the steps to battle COVID-19 variants are getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, getting tested, and staying home if sick.
According to the California Department of Public Health, there are currently no cases of the Omicron variant in the United States.
Health experts say that based on other variants, it is only a matter of time before Omicron is detected in the United States.
The California Department of Public Health said new variants will continue to evolve as long as there are large proportions of unvaccinated people.