New Year New Variant


With COVID-19 going into its third year, a lot of information is going around, some false and some true. So here’s everything you need to know about the new variant, masks and vaccines. 

According to Voice of American (VOA), “the Omicron variant of the coronavirus was already present in western Europe well before the first cases were officially identified in southern Africa.” It is a more contagious variant than the others, but isn’t as deadly. The amount of breakthroughs are increasing every day. 

Although there are breakthroughs, the best way to fight against this disease is by getting a vaccine. The World Health Organization states, “Vaccines train our immune systems to create proteins that fight disease, known as ‘antibodies’, just as would happen when we are exposed to a disease but – crucially – vaccines work without making us sick.” Although the vaccine may not prevent you from eventually getting the disease, it decreases your chance of getting hospitalized.

According to the New York Times and data from the Illinois Department of Health, as of January 10, 2022 Illinois has over 6,300 people hospitalized and 77,458 new cases. As of the people who were hospitalized according to Window to the World (WTTW) approximately 85% of those hospitalized because of COVID-19 are unvaccinated, while 95% of the approximately 1,100 people in intensive care are unvaccinated…” Getting a vaccine and booster are more important now than ever. 

Another way to help prevent this disease is by wearing a mask over your nose and mouth. It is simple to do and it protects you and others. If you do not wear your mask correctly it can’t do its job and there is no point in wearing it. 

According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),the best masks to wear against this variant are the KN95 or N95 masks. Channel 5Chicago recently held an interview with Dr. Allison Ardaway stating that “KN95 masks, as well as N95s, filter out at least 95% of air particles, but N95 masks have stricter pressure drop requirements and are regularly considered the “gold standard” for masking.” They are the best masks to use when exposed to other people for a long period of time. They can be bought online and in a lot of stores near you. 

As covid gets smarter, so can we. Help yourself and others by getting vaccinated, wearing your mask properly, and remembering social distance.