Omicron: a New Variant of Uncertainty and Concern

COVID-19 Variants Information

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, various variants have appeared globally, each variant having a varying level of concern. COVID-19 variants can be organized into four categories, including, Variants Being Monitored (VBM/VUM), Variants of Interest (VOI), Variants of Concern (VOC), and Variants of High Consequence (VOHC). All COVID-19 variants may find their way through multiple variant categories as the level of concern for that specific variant changes. However, today we will specifically be discussing a new Variant of Concern that will bring the list of VOCs to five, the VOCs include Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and the newest Omicron. During the pandemic, each of the five previously listed variants has been a cause for concern globally and has caused fears due to their ability to spread quickly and hide from antibodies produced by the COVID-19 vaccines. Today we will be discussing the newest VOC, Omicron, which has caused much concern like the other variants.

The Omicron Variant Backstory

The Omicron Variant is a COVID-19 strain categorized as a Variant of Concern (VOC). Omicron was first found in November 2021 by South African scientists, who then reported the new variant to the World Health Organization. Despite being identified in South Africa, there is no information on exactly where the Omicron variant began due to its detection in multiple countries at the time. The Omicron variant is known for its ability to spread rapidly, thus causing exponential growth in the number of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant. 

Recognizing Omicron Symptoms

Although scientists are yet to find solid information regarding Omicron symptoms, there have been various studies. Click here to learn more about Omicron symptoms. Overall, the studies have shown that Omicron has taken a step back from the traditional COVID-19 symptoms of cough, fever, and inability to smell and taste, and has opened the possibility of runny nose, fatigue, a sore throat, and sneezing as possible symptoms for Omicron.

Omicron in the United States

On December 20, 2021, the Omicron variant was detected in many US states and territories and scientists are currently monitoring it to identify more information regarding the new variant. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that the Omicron variant is prone to an increased potential to spread rapidly amongst a population, and the variant grows exponentially in a short period. 


As of December 20, 2021, the CDC determined that COVID-19 vaccines likely prevent severe hospitalizations due to Omicron. However, it is still possible to be infected by the Omicron variant. In short, vaccines can prevent the severity of Omicron, but it doesn’t rule out the possibility of being infected. 

Overall, the newest COVID-19 variant of concern, Omicron, can be managed if we all do our part to get vaccinated, continue to wear masks, and stay cautious. As always, stay safe, wash your hands, and for more COVID-19 information, visit or

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Works Cited

Irfan, Umair. “How to Recognize Covid-19 Symptoms from the Omicron Variant.” Vox, Vox, 24 Dec. 2021,

“Omicron Variant: What You Need to Know.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

“Potential Rapid Increase of Omicron Variant Infections in the United States.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

“SARS-CoV-2 Variant Classifications and Definitions.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 Dec. 2021,

“Tracking SARS-CoV-2 Variants.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 22 Dec. 2021,

Zimmer, Carl, and Andrew Jacobs. “Omicron: What We Know About the New Coronavirus Variant.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Nov. 2021,