“A matter of if, not when” Local health officials provide insight on Omicron variant

PROVIDENCE, R.I.- As the Omicron variant spreads across the globe, according to local health officials, it’s a matter of when not if it’ll arrive in The Ocean State.

“We will see this variant here in The United States and probably in Rhode Island at some point,” Rhode Island Department of Health Dr. Philip Chan said.

Though we’ve dealt with numerous variants throughout the pandemic, Dr. Chan explained why Omicron is different.

“There are about 50 different mutations being observed for the first time in a single variant. We’ve seen these before but the first time we’re seeing it in a single variant. There’s also about 30 spiked protein alone which is the main protein involved in affecting human cells.” Dr. Chan said.

An unprecedented mutation, with a lot of unknowns.

“We don’t know if it’s more infectious, we don’t know if it causes more severe disease and we don’t know how the available vaccines will be impacted by this new variant,” Dr. Chan said.

The potential arrival of this variant comes as Rhode Island saw it’s highest daily count of new Covid cases in the past 10 months.

Local businesses like Napolitano’s Brooklyn Pizza hope they can keep moving forward.

“Where is it going form here? I don’t want things to go back to the way they were during lockdown. I’m keep a close eye on it and just maintaining the safety precautions that we do,” Owner Jacob Kamborian said.

According to Dr. Chan, practices that have been in place for other variants should still keep you safe.

Those include avoiding large crowds, getting vaccinated and receiving your booster shot.


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