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Omicron is here

Well, that didn’t take long.

It was only a week ago that health officials in South Africa reported a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, now known as the omicron variant. Other nations tried to set up travel bans to keep the virus in Africa, but it was already too late. Cases have been popping up around the world, including a Minnesotan who apparently caught it at an anime convention in New York even before the virus was announced to the world. You can bet there are more cases walking around.

So omicron is here in Minnesota, half a world away from southern Africa. It apparently spreads very easily, but doctors haven’t seen truly serious illnesses yet. They aren’t sure whether vaccines that are already being used will be as effective against omicron.

But that doesn’t mean we are helpless against this new variant. We can still protect ourselves by masking up (yes, we’re tired of it too, but you gotta do what you gotta do), avoiding large crowds, washing hands and sanitizing, keeping our distance in public places, and staying home if you are not feeling well. And medical professionals encourage everyone to get vaccinated if they haven’t been already, and to get the booster if they are eligible.

At times like this old wisdom stops being a cliché and are worth repeating. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the old saying goes, and in the case of COVID, that’s really true.

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