A new omicron subvariant of COVID-19 has made its way to North Texas and scientist are watching its movement very closely.
Parkland Hospitals Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Chang spoke to NBC 5 about what the public should keep in mind in the coming days and weeks.
“There are a lot of places in the country that are seeing cases go up. And of course, around the world there are certain areas doing really badly like China and some of the European countries,” Chang said. “It’s not impossible for COVID to come back here, but we’re doing really well and we’re happy about that.”
Scientists say COVID-19 cases in the DFW area are quite low, but as cases spike in other parts of the country and the world, we shouldn’t let our guards down completely.
A new COVID-19 omicron subvariant, BA.12.2.1, mimics the BA.2 variant, studies show. Of all cases sequenced by UT Southwestern last week, this new variant accounted for just 12%.
While Chang feels good about overall COVID-19 numbers now, he said the summer months are certainly top of mind for potential spread.
“Travel is the one variable that we think about in terms of spread around the world,” he said. “With people feeling braver and wanting to get out after being restricted for a long time, we do think about travel.”
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Chang said vaccines are still the best defense as well as checking government websites for COVID-19 numbers ahead of travel.
Mask mandates have been lifted. But with the presence of a new variant and uncertainty about how easily it spreads, Chang said the same best practices still hold true.
“Just because COVID is a low number doesn’t mean that we should be coughing on each other or touching each other with dirty hands,” Chang said.
Scientists have said this virus has been known to surprise, so they’re keeping a close watch as the public remains hopeful.
For more information about coronavirus variants, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.