January 2022 COVID-19 Update: What You Need to Know
COVID-19 cases are surging as we start the new year. Get the latest updates and safety guidance from Cynthia Snider, MD, infection prevention medical director, in this 2 Your Well-Being discussion with WFMY News 2.
What do COVID-19 numbers look like in January 2022? What does the transmission rate look like right now?
"Our numbers are as high as they were before our last surge. We are anticipating that this coming week - maybe two weeks - is going to be worse than we've had ever before... We have a 30 positivity rate - so one in three folks - who are getting tested are positive, and I think a majority of people are going in for symptoms, but there are folks who are getting tested because they came in close contact with somebody who's positive."
How concerning is the 30% transmission rate and the high number of hospitalizations?
"It kind of takes my breath away. Really, it is startling. I think we're going to come to a point where if somebody's symptomatic and is otherwise healthy, we would say you probably have COVID. Right now, you have a one in three chance of being positive. For those who are seeking testing, realize that you could be infectious to others, so it's really important to follow those CDC guidelines to staying home if you're seeking testing and waiting for those results."
What is the latest update about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters?
"We're still recommending boosters and this past week, the FDA as well as the CDC have cleared for 12 year olds to get a booster vaccine, which is great. And you just have to wait five months for either having Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. So a lot more people should be qualified to get the boosters, and we really recommend for everybody to get them."
We're hearing reports that vaccinated people are getting breakthrough cases. Why should you still get the vaccine or booster?
"A breakthrough case depends on a couple things -- we definitely are not seeing as many breakthroughs in folks who've had their booster vaccine. So that's a reason to get it. The breakthrough cases we're seeing, a lot of people who got the original vaccine series 10 months 12 months ago, and so that's why the data suggests that everybody gets boosters at five months. And again, the vaccines do work tremendously. The fact that we only have like 20-25 of the people with COVID who have been vaccinated in our hospital as opposed to everybody hospitalized - we know that the vaccine does work."
Are symptoms of the Omicron variant milder than symptoms of the Delta variant? Do I need to take the Omicron variant seriously?
"Folks who have other health problems are still a candidate for getting sick -- to the point where you're seeking medical care. If you are otherwise healthy, it can be considered just a cold -- but it has larger implications outside of that one person. It's so transmissible that it's probably guaranteed everybody in your household gets it, so your kids get it, so your kids cannot be in school for two weeks. Or your parents get it, and they have health problems and they are most at risk to getting hospitalized if they're not vaccinated. So we really are asking everybody, even though you may not feel that you yourself are gonna get sick, we need you to do it for the community, for your family, for your co-workers -- we want to try to do as much as we can to prevent overwhelming infections throughout different workplaces and schools."