Miami, Florida – According to Dr. David Andrews, the lab he runs at the University of Miami is hard at work screening coronavirus samples from the Jackson Health System patients for evidence of the omicron variant, discovered on Nov. 24.
On Sunday during This Week In South Florida that evidence shows the “clear and present danger” in South Florida remains the delta variant, the UM Health clinical pathology specialist said.
“We are 99% delta right now … Omicron is here … I think we can speculate about its infectivity … its ability to be transmitted … the number of individuals that can be infected by one person … this is going to emerge … it’s going to be very clear just in the next couple of weeks,” Andrews said.
Omicron cases are increasing in the United States. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, California, Hawaii, Colorado, and Utah have already detected omicron cases.
South African scientists warned omicron appears to make reinfections more likely than delta.
During a World Health Organization briefing on Thursday, a researcher said a previous infection used to protect against delta, and now with the omicron variant, it doesn’t.
The COVID-19 vaccines that are widely available in South Florida will still protect against severe disease, but the duration of the protection will be less, Andrews said.
“We need to remain focused on the unbelievably positive effect of vaccination … vaccination will protect even against omicron,” Andrews said.