MIAMI – Dr David Andrews said the lab he heads at the University of Miami is working hard to screen coronavirus samples from patients at the Jackson Health System for evidence of the omicron variant, which was discovered on November 24.
UM Health’s clinical pathology specialist said Sunday this week in South Florida that evidence shows that the “clear and present danger” in South Florida remains the delta variant.
“We are at 99% delta right now … Omicron is there … I think we can speculate on its infectivity … its ability to be transmitted … the number of individuals who can be infected with a no oneâ¦ it’s going to emergeâ¦ it will be very clear in the next few weeks, âAndrews said.
Without scientific scrutiny, South African scientists have warned that the omicron appears to make re-infections more likely than the delta. During a World Health Organization briefing on Thursday, a researcher said a previous infection protected against delta, and now with the omicron variant, that’s no longer the case.
Andrews said the COVID-19 vaccines that are widely available in South Florida will still protect against serious illnesses, but the duration of protection will be shorter.
âWe need to stay focused on the incredibly positive effect of vaccinationâ¦ the vaccination will even protect against omicron,â Andrews said.
The average seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate in Miami-Dade County was 2%, according to the official local update released on Saturday.
Omicron cases are increasing around the world. The United States, Mexico and Brazil are among dozens of countries reporting cases. Andrews said it was only a matter of time before his lab detected a case in Miami-Dade.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, California, Hawaii, Colorado and Utah have already detected cases of ‘omicron.
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