Michigan health officials concerned about omicron COVID variant: Here’s the latest

‘It is a different virus in many respects from even the delta virus’

The omicron variant has health officials concerned. Here's the latest on the situation in Michigan. For more: https://www.clickondetroit.com/topic/Michigan_COVID/

TROY, Mich. – We went to Beaumont Hospital in Troy on Tuesday morning where we talked to a nurse.

The hospital is at 99% capacity. The nurse said it’s like last year all over again -- a roller coaster that we cannot get off of. Doctors and nurses fear the new omicron variant of the coronavirus could make things even worse at Michigan’s hospitals.

Read more: Michigan COVID-19 hospitalizations reach new record high

More: Michigan doctors react after multiple omicron variant cases are found in Canada and Africa

The concern about the impact of the omicron variant is global as beds are filling to near capacity. Henry Ford Health Dr. Dennis Cunningham said on a 1 to 10 scale:

“I’m probably going to give this an 8 out of 10 because there are so many mutations here. And as I’m lookin at the different mutations and what they code for, it has me a bit concerned,” said Cunningham.

University of Michigan Dr. Arnold Monto, who is the chair of the FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee, said he is concerned, too, but not panicked.

“What we do know is there are a number of changes in this virus. It is a different virus in many respects from even the delta virus. But we don’t know what it’s gonna do, and that’s the problem,” said Monto.

While vaccine manufacturers are working on updated vaccines in case they’re needed, Monto believes we will ultimately see a parade of variants. However, he is hopeful that COVID-19 will someday behave more like the flu with a seasonal pattern and fewer deaths.

More: WHO warns that new virus variant poses ‘very high’ risk

“Long term, the issue is we’re gonna keep having these variants and we’re gonna probably have to treat this just like we treat the flu, with updated vaccines on a periodic basis,” he said.

Until we get to that point, the experts are saying that the vaccine we have now and the boosters are the key, even though they’re working on a potential new vaccine for omicron. The health experts say get the booster right now.

More: The latest on COVID in Michigan

More: Michigan COVID data

About the Author:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.