There's been a lot of talk the past few months about the latest strain of COVID-19, the Omicron variant. It has spread fast, but the worst may be behind us as Omicron cases are finally beginning to drop after unprecedented surges earlier at the start of 2022.
The team at NOVA IVF understand the concerns and stress of our patients surrounding the periodic updates of COVID-19 and the newest strains. We strive to keep our patients informed of any and all changes that potentially can affect the health and care of our patients.
Here are the latest details on the Omicron strain and ways to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 while pursuing your fertility treatment.
Here's What We Know About This Variant
- Omicron represents more than 99.5% of new infections in the US.
- Omicron spreads faster and symptoms arise sooner after exposure compared to the other variants (average incubation period three days versus five days). Experts recommend taking a rapid test two to four days after exposure, and taking a second test one day later to increase the odds of detecting the infection.
- Omicron infections may last a shorter time (one day less, compared to other variants); This may be due to higher rates of pre-existing immunity.
- Omicron symptoms appear to be less severe as it does not damage the lungs to the same degree as the Delta variant.
- Booster shots of mRNA vaccines are 90% effective against hospitalization with Omicron.
- The CDC recently changed their isolation guidelines to include a shorter period (five days versus 10 days) if an individual is asymptomatic or has resolving symptoms.
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself
We recommend that you continue to follow the CDC guidelines to continue to protect yourself from COVID-19:
- Continue to wear your mask when you expect to be within six feet of other individuals. We can't always predict how busy places will be, so we encourage you to err on the side of caution when wearing a mask. At this time masks are also required at all appointments.
- When you can, keep your distance from others and try to utilize the six-foot rule.
- Follow the CDC guidelines for getting vaccinated. In addition to the original two-part vaccination, it is also recommended to keep up to date with the current booster recommendations.
While it is still possible to contract COVID-19—even while following these cautious measures—it does greatly reduce your risks.
The end of this pandemic may be in sight, but it’s no time to let our guards down! Let’s continue to act in a socially responsible way by masking, distancing, and getting vaccinated/boosted!
Follow Dr. Shah on Instagram at @dr_meerashah.