We are all ready for COVID-19 to be gone. But we must renew our commitment to stand together, stronger than ever, to fight against this Omicron variant that is rapidly spreading among us.
Due to COVID-19 variants, in 2021 we lost just as many patients from COVID-19 as we did in 2020. Those who survived COVID-19 are still suffering from lingering symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, brain fog, loss of smell and loss of taste. We know that having had the infection provides only limited immunity against this new variant. Of those sick with Omicron in South Africa, many individuals were unvaccinated and re-infected. Getting vaccinated and boosted against this virus is our best chance to give our bodies instructions on how to fight this virus and limit illness from this infection. Getting vaccinated and boosted will help prevent hospitalizations and will help protect you and others around you from getting sick. If you are unsure about the best way to protect yourself, talk to your own health care provider.
More: Did you test positive for COVID-19? What to know about CDC’s quarantine guidelines
The Omicron variant has over 30 mutations in the spike protein. As a result of this change, this variant can spread much more rapidly than the ones before it. Health experts have noticed individuals showing symptoms much earlier than with other variants. According to the CDC, the Omicron variant has been detected in all 50 states and is rapidly increasing the overall number of COVID-19 cases. Our best defense against this virus is to avoid large indoor gatherings, wear a mask and get vaccinated. We, Dr. Sarah Moyer, Dr. Brian Sosnin and Dr. Monalisa Tailor strongly recommend that everyone five years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated.
If you will be gathering with others, get tested before you are with them. If you are exposed to someone who tests positive, wear a mask and watch for symptoms.
We are all suffering from pandemic fatigue. Unfortunately, this virus is not done with us. It continues to get smarter as it finds more unvaccinated people to infect, prompting the possibility of more variants. To combat this virus, we are going to have to be smarter, too. As local physicians, we want you to start 2022 as healthy as ever. If you are not vaccinated, get your vaccine. If you are vaccinated, be sure to get your booster. And let’s consider each other as we look to 2022. Let’s take care of each other and wear a mask.
Sarah Moyer, MD is the Director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. She believes engaging all parts of the community to implement bold, innovative ideas will lead to improved health outcomes for everyone. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences where she helps educate and inspire the next generation of public health leaders and professionals.
Brian Sosnin, DO is a family medicine physician with Proactive MD Wellness Clinic. Prior to becoming a family medicine physician, he served his country on active duty in the United States Army and then in the KY Army National Guard. He currently serves as the President of the Greater Louisville Medical Society.
Monalisa Tailor, MD, is a primary care physician practicing with Norton Community Medical Associates: Barret. She currently serves as the Board Chair of the Greater Louisville Medical Society, and the President-Elect of the Kentucky Medical Association. She is highly encouraging her patients and the public to stay safe when it comes to COVID-19.
Interested in writing an op-ed or guest column?
More: How to submit a guest opinion column or op-ed to The Courier Journal