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COVID-19 Variant Omicron Cases Surge in Florida

In light of the recent developments in research surrounding Omicron, new information has been revealed about what the future holds for Covid-19. The US set the record for daily Covid cases, with over 265,000 cases a day, primarily driven by the surge in Omicron due to its fast-growing mutation rate. 

According to Dr. David Andrews, UHealth pathologist, Omicron has now taken over as the dominant variant of Covid-19. Furthermore, he mentioned that Jackson Health found the Omicron variant in over 80% of samples tested. Omicron has been observed to be nearly 3 times more transmissible than Delta, which was viewed as a major threat over the past summer.

By the end of the Omicron wave, the grand majority of Florida is expected to have caught Covid-19, with a peak in the number of infections resulting from Omicron. Researchers estimate that Omicron caused substantially fewer deaths than Delta, with only a third as many deaths.

In an effort to slow down it’s mutations, many restrictions and guidelines have been implemented in public facilities. Additional testing sites have been set up worldwide, and President Joe Biden has partnered with Google to make finding local testing locations easier.

Miami Dade County Public Schools released a statement modifying it’s existing protocols that were to be implemented beginning Monday, January 3, 2022. It states that all MDCPS employees and visitors are required to wear facial coverings while indoors at any district facility. However, while heavily encouraged, facial coverings are not mandated for students for the time being. Additionally, all sanitation and cleaning protocols are to continue, following the return from winter recess.

Several students have been placed under quarantine following their return from winter break. During their quarantine period, people who are sent home are expected to participate in online Zoom calls to avoid affecting their schoolwork. 

Despite it’s rapid mutation rate, the majority of people who have tested positive are exhibiting mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. A person who has tested positive for Omicron may transmit it to others, regardless of vaccination status, although symptoms may not be as severe. 

Booster shots are also highly effective at neutralizing Omicron, and serve as additional protection against the fast-growing variant. 

In addition to the typical symptoms associated with Covid-19, other signs and symptoms frequently seen in Omicron cases include muscle aches, fatigue, scratchy throat, and night sweats. Another difference between Omicron and its predecessors includes an allayed possibility of loss of smell and taste. Research continues in efforts to grasp a better understanding of Omicron’s full potential in regards to symptoms.

In light of the rapid skyrocket in cases, it is imperative that we take the adequate measures to ensure safety, especially in such a populous facility. Consequently, further observations of Omicron will be made in the hope of discovering more. As previously mentioned, Omicron is certainly not a cause for major concern, but usual precautions should be taken regardless. Considering the current circumstances, the wearing of facial coverings is highly encouraged, even though it is not mandated by MDCPS. Ensure that you maintain social distance in public areas, get your Covid-19 vaccine if eligible, and wear your mask. Stay safe Falcons!

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