Is omicron in Tuscaloosa? Here’s what we know

Vaccination 100 Mandate

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By WVUA 23 News Reporter Aajene Robinson

The omicron variant is spreading, and now represents around 3% of COVID-19 cases within the U.S.

This month around Alabama and in Tuscaloosa, there’s been a slight increase in COVID-19 community transmission. This week, Alabama received proof of its first omicron case.

University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences Dean Dr. Richard Friend said that while vaccinations are rising and boosters are widely available, Alabama isn’t doing well enough in the fight against COVID-19.

“Not even 50% of the state has received two doses, and only about 25% of the state has received the three doses,” Friend said. “We’ve got to get vaccinated and we have to get boosted.”

Data from South Africa and other countries in which the omicron variant has taken hold in suggests it younger people have worse reactions, Friend said.

If you’re interested in staying healthy, Friend said the same tips and advice they’ve been offering since the beginning of the pandemic still applies. Social distance. Masks. And the vaccine.

“But it’s now more important than ever because (researchers) don’t know much about the new variant,” Friend said.

Those who are vaccinated are more likely to avoid the illness entirely or have mild symptoms if they do wind up with COVID-19.

“You are still susceptible to becoming positive with COVID, but the chances of you becoming seriously ill or hospitalized or dying continue to be very small,” Friend said. “We are lucky that this variant is susceptible to our current vaccines.”

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