Mayo Clinic Q&A: Omicron wave wanes, new variant arises
This episode is shared from Mayo Clinic Q&A and was recorded in January 2022
Guest: Gregory A. Poland, M.D. (@drgregpoland)
Host: Halena M. Gazelka, M.D. (@hmgazelkamd)
The number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is dropping as the omicron wave wanes in many places, but some parts of the country lag behind.
“As a nation, it looks like we’ve kind of gotten to the peak and are now starting on the decline, but it’s very uneven,” explains Dr. Gregory Poland, head of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. “That’s what’s happening in the big Northeast cities, and maybe in L.A., for example. But if you look at the rest of the nation, it’s not clear that they have peaked yet.”
And on the heels of the latest surge, a new omicron subvariant — BA.2 — is emerging. Early indications are that the new subvariant may be more transmissible, but it does not appear to cause more severe disease than the original omicron strain.
Mayo experts, including Dr. Poland, continue to urge COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters as the best defense against the latest variants.
“By getting two doses of vaccine and a booster, or a dose of Johnson & Johnson and a booster, you move yourself into a category of maximal protection such that if you have a normal immune system, you are probably going to have trivial or even asymptomatic disease if you get infected with COVID-19,” explains Dr. Poland.
On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland discusses the latest information on COVID-19 and answers listener questions.