With the highly transmissible omicron variant spread across the U.S., it may seem inevitable that most people will get infected with COVID-19. But Mayo Clinic experts explain why it is important to continue to be vigilant and take measures to avoid COVID-19 infection.
“One of the many negatives about saying, ‘Well, I’ll just go ahead and get infected and get it over with’ is you can spread the virus to highly vulnerable people,” says Dr. Gregory Poland, head of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. “Parents, grandparents, people too young to be immunized, and people whose immune systems might not be working well are all at risk of more severe disease. While your case may be mild, theirs may not.”
Dr. Poland cautions that the sheer number of infections is stressing the health care system, and treatments for omicron are more limited than they were for the delta variant.
“The role of testing and of getting boosted is critical to our response to this, and remember, even though you might have mild disease, every time this virus infects somebody, it is the opportunity for further mutation.” says Dr. Poland.
Vaccination, boosting and masking are all necessary to prevent the spread of omicron.
“Your best chance of protecting yourself is to be fully vaccinated, wear a proper mask properly when in public, and to avoid crowded indoor settings,” says Dr. Poland.
On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland discusses the omicron surge and answers listener questions.