Omicron Variant

Omicron Presents Challenges to Keep Up With Rapidly Spreading COVID-19 Variant

Cases in North Texas are currently lower than similarly sized cities with comparable vaccination population profiles, like Houston and New York City, doctors say.

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New data shows total daily cases in the U.S. from the omicron variant of COVID-19 has exceeded the peak of the delta variant from just a few months ago.

While infections appear, on average, less severe, health experts in North Texas expect the number of cases from the latest variant to increase in the next two weeks.

On Thursday, many area malls and shopping centers look like what you’d expect, with parking lots at near capacity, even if the latest on how the omicron variant is spreading is not what doctors want to see.

Dr. Mark Casanova, past president of the Dallas County Medical Society described the rapid onset of omicron as feeling like round five of what was supposed to have been a three-round fight.

“This particular variant has pushed us back quite significantly,” Casanova said. “In context of viral transmission, let’s put it in simple terms, it’s crazy fast.”

Casanova says knowledge gained from two years of the pandemic could help make the omicron wave shorter.

He cited the need to be mindful of minimizing risks of indoor gathering even with our vaccinated loved ones, especially if they are immune comprised or have an underlying condition.

“Who are you doing these activities with and who are you going to be returning to – in terms of your household, friends, loved ones,” Casanova said.

On Tuesday, the Dallas County Health and Human Services said the county was averaging just over 300 daily cases for the last seven days, but Dr. Philip Huang called the variant “extremely transmissible” and expected the case numbers to rise rapidly heading in 2022.

Dr. Joseph Guillory is a North Texas psychiatrist with extensive experience in processing mental health stress among child and adolescent clients. He says the omicron variant rapid spread, and updated public health recommendations, like receiving a booster to be considered fully vaccinated, could renew pandemic anxiety for some.

“I really feel like it’s important to ground ourselves in the present and our ability to absorb what we can and leave behind what we can’t.”

Guillory, who is on the board of NAMI North Texas - adds there are any number of resources available if you need someone to connect with related to renewed stress and anxiety from this latest variant.

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