Britain Battles Omicron


Britain in the Midst of the Covid Pandemic

Britain currently faces what is said to be a “tidal wave” of new infections from the newest variant, the Omicron. The Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, has reported the first death due from the new variant on December 13, 2021.

The United Kingdom prepares to face this new surge of cases by pushing out more booster shots. Minister Johnson, who had previously resisted enforcing new COVID-19 restrictions and measures, has supported these decisions due to the Omicron becoming a growing threat. As of December 14, 2021, cases doubled every two to three days. On December 13, British workers were encouraged to work from home. Mask mandates have also been reinforced, and attendees of large events require proof of vaccination or negative test results before being admitted.

The Omicron Variant, according to researchers, is 20 times more transmissible than the original COVID-19 virus. Compared to the Delta Variant, Omicron has 50 mutations, whereas Delta has 13. Doctors urged getting the booster shot to avoid Omicron issues since a study from Denmark showed individuals with a COVID-19 booster dose were 56% less likely to get Omicron if someone in their household had received it. As the variant is still relatively new, experts have yet to see how effective vaccines may be due to a lack of information.

Variants spread when a virus circulates widely, giving the virus more of a likelihood for mutations. Professor Bollinger of Infectious Diseases notes that the mutations affect the coronavirus’s spike protein. This is the outer shell of the SARS-CoV-2 and gives the virus its spiny look. These proteins let the virus attach to human cells in the nose, lungs, and other body parts. Bollinger also explains the frequency of mutations in viruses, citing the constant change of the flu virus. The World Health Organization observes that the COVID-19 vaccination may need an update to fight against new variants like Omicron.  Experts add that the COVID-19 vaccine needs to be more successful to reduce the need for booster shots. The CDC recommends everyone wait until they are fully vaccinated before traveling internationally. People who are not fully vaccinated and are traveling internationally are vulnerable to COVID-19 and other infections.

The Omicron Variant is spreading rapidly across the globe.  Due to this, leaders worldwide are enforcing new measures and restrictions to fight against the new variant. You can avoid COVID-19 and Omicron by booster shot, following proper hygiene, and being cautious of others around you.