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Lessons learned from Delta variant for combating the Omicron variant

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 7:09 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The United States has discovered its first case of the Omicron variant in California. While study continues into this variant and it’s impact, Alabama health leaders believe the state is in better position to handle a possible spread of the infectious disease. A medical officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health said the Omicron variant is concerning, but we have learned a lot of lessons from the Delta variant.

While the Omicron variant is spreading mostly in Europe and South Africa, many believed it could be like the Delta Variant. At the time, ADPH says about 98% of all the variants they are finding in Alabama are the Delta variants. The state has beefed up it’s genomic testing which is required to determine if there is a variant virus in Alabama. A simple COVID test will not due the trick.

The CDC gave Alabama a $3.5 million grant to improve and expand it’s genomic testing. Dr. Wes Stubblefield said they can modify their current testing machines to look for the new variant. He believes Alabama is in better shape to handle Omicron than when Delta hit.

“We’ve had more people vaccinated since COVID came around. We have learned to take care of patients in hospitals about what works and what doesn’t work. We’ve learned about this virus. We continue to learn a lot about this virus,” Stubblefield said.

Dr. Stubblefield will tell you we still don’t know yet if this virus is more transmissible or if it’s more severe. There continues to be concerns it may be make current vaccines less effective, but after Delta hit Alabama, vaccinations are still recommended.

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