Local doctors expect high number of cases and low hospitalizations


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW / WAGT) – We asked experts at AU Health if we should expect another increase in cases. And if so, how worried should we be about this new variant?

We have spoken to local doctors who say there is good news and bad news.

The good news is, we know how to keep ourselves and others safe this week as we travel and visit family and friends for the holidays. At the moment, the symptoms of omicron are mostly mild. The bad news is that it spreads more easily than the other variants. We spoke to an expert who explains why.

“It’s called the spike protein on the coronavirus, it’s what actually helps the virus get into our cells and make us sick and in the case of delta and the other variants we’ve had a handful of mutations in this spike protein and with omicron there are, “said Dr. Julie Hirschhorn, laboratory director for the Molecular Pathology Laboratories at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Hirschhorn says the number of mutations has doubled or even tripled, so there are plenty of possibilities for the omicron to interact with our body. One way he mutated the infection rate. With the delta variant, a person can infect 5-7 people – that of omicron is higher. But this is usually how viruses evolve.

“It is to the advantage of a virus for survival that it does not kill the host, if the host dies all of the virus dies with the host,” said Dr Rodger MacArthur, professor of medicine at the division of Georgia Medical College of Infectious Diseases at AU. .

Which explains the first reports of milder symptoms. Our local health officials do not anticipate an increase in hospitalizations as we have seen with the delta variant, but anticipate an increase in cases. No matter what they say, they are always ready to give the best possible care.

“Obviously this pandemic has been tricky and the good news is that we have become very adept at dealing with it,” said Dr Phillip Coule, AU vice president and chief medical officer of the health system.

So this holiday season, weigh the risks and rewards like you did.

“Reasonable precautions for the safety of people are what I would recommend. It wouldn’t be the holidays if you couldn’t visit your family, ”Coule said.

Our local health experts say you don’t have to cancel your vacation plans, just be alert and careful. If you are traveling, they recommend that you wear your mask, respect social distancing when you can, and even buy a home COVID test to make sure just before you see your loved ones.

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