As a new COVID-19 variant is confirmed the Biden administration urges everyone to be vaccinated. The Omicron variant was found in twenty countries including the United States. Graphic by Madisyn Dwiggins.
While COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Utah, only 54% of Utahns remain fully vaccinated.
On Utah’s COVID-19 14-day case rate map it shows that Washington County is in the red zone, meaning the cases in Utah are rising at a high rate. According to Southwest Utah Public Health Department the weekly COVID-19 report for Nov. 24 – Dec. 2 showed: 38 Utahans are currently hospitalized, 626 new cases have been confirmed, as well as 13 deaths.
While COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Utah, Dixie State University is currently seeing a drop in COVID-19 cases.
Booth Wellness Center Director Garyn Gulbranson said he encourages DSU students, staff and faculty to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and others from infection and to take the necessary precautions.
Gulbranson said, “DSU has reported an average of 11 weekly positive COVID-19 cases in the past six weeks, which compared to Fall 2020 is a significant decrease in positive cases.”
Susan Ertel, a member of DSU’s COVID-19 task force, explained that unless DSU has a major outbreak, the task force has no plans to change DSU’s current COVID-19 guidelines.
If an outbreak did occur on campus, Ertel ensures that DSU has procedures set in place to deal with an outbreak if necessary.
DSU students who are sick must stay home and fill out a COVID-19 self report form in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout
If DSU students continue to do their part by taking precautions against COVID-19, it ensures we can get back to normal a lot sooner.
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A new strain of COVID-19 called ‘omicron’ was found in South Africa, this new variant has researchers unsure of just how serious it could be, for now, the variant is classified as a variant of concern.
The omicron variant has been found in 20 different countries; cases have been confirmed in the following states: California, New York, Minnesota, Colorado and Hawaii.
The first patient to test positive from the omicron variant is from California and was fully vaccinated. Officials say the symptoms have been mild and are hoping for a full recovery.
Although research shows the vaccine is strong enough to fight off symptoms from the delta variant, researchers around the world are studying omicron cases in South Africa to determine if the vaccine is strong enough to weaken the symptoms.
In South Africa, the data shows the symptoms for vaccinated people with the omicron variant have been mild as of right now. As for the unvaccinated, the omicron variant like the delta variant, may be known to worsen symptoms, however, more data is needed to confirm this.
According to the Washington Post, both Moderna and Pfizer are working to determine if their vaccine is strong enough for the omicron variant. Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said on the BBC that the second booster, if necessary, could be available early next year.
Until researchers know just how serious the omicron variant is, President Joe Biden put air travel restrictions into place from South Africa as well as seven other countries. While this may slow down the spread of omicron it cannot prevent it.
Biden stated in a speech on Nov. 29 that he wants the American people to do these three things to stay protected against COVID-19: He tells Americans that this new variant is only a cause for concern and not a cause for panic, he urges Americans to get fully vaccinated, and lastly he states if more boosters are needed the Biden administration will accelerate the development as needed without cutting any safety corners.
The Biden administration has recommended Americans get the vaccine and booster shots to slow the spread of the virus, as well as wear a mask in a public indoor setting to protect yourself and others around you.
Biden explained it will be a few weeks before they know more information about the omicron variant, but he ensures Americans will be updated when they receive enough data about the variant.