By Diane Lee, Public Information Officer, Garrett County Health Department
A new COVID-19 variant – Omicron – is causing a stir around the world, with the first U.S. case identified in California today. When a new variant is detected, there are more questions than answers until time passes and it can be studied to determine if it will cause worse disease than the original, or than the last variant, and if it will be more transmissible.
“Viruses mutate during the process of infecting other people,” explains Dr. Jennifer Corder Deputy Health Officer for Garrett and Allegany Counties. “When a new infection occurs, the virus multiplies in the infected person. Each time a virus multiplies, there is a risk of a new genetic mutation being produced. The more widespread and common infections are within a population, the more likely a new mutation will evolve. We are currently awaiting more details about the Omicron variant, to learn more about the consequences of these mutations.”
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