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Chris Lindley, chief population health officer for Vail Health and executive director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, is an epidemiologist whose social media is worth following for the sake of some invaluable perspective on COVID-19 and new developments such as the spread of the new Omicron variant.
Here’s what Lindley had to say a couple of days ago on the variant that is prompting panic in the financial markets and new travel restrictions around the globe that could eventually impact a global tourism destination such as Vail.
What is concerning about the new variant, Omicron — Nu was next in line but they thought the “New Nu” variant was a bit too on point, is that it has a large number of mutations and many of them are on the spike protein. This is the protein that the virus uses to get into cells, and it’s what is targeted by vaccines.The mutations raise concerns about (A) faster spread and ( possible “vaccine evasion”. This vaccine evasion could occur because our vaccines target the spike protein. If it is very different, vaccines could be less effective.There is reason for concern based on these mutations but, NO ONE actually knows much of anything precise at this point. It will be a few weeks before the world knows whether the variant evades vaccines and to what extent. It will take time to know if it spreads more quickly, or causes more (or less) severe disease. None of this is at all clear at this point and if people say otherwise, they are wrong.What we DO KNOW. Your best defense for COVID over the past two years has been vaccination and underlying health. Getting vaccinated is easy, (Do It) getting and staying heathy is real work. We all need to double down on our health this round, our total health (mind, body, spirit). COVID is here to stay (endemic) we are starting round 2 potentially. Let’s come together and manage our health and the health of our community better!