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‘Don’t panic’ over new COVID variant, Fargo doctor says

Coronavirus in New Orleans: Closures; events canceled, postponed due to COVID-19 concerns
COVID-19 concerns(tcw-wvue)
Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 5:58 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The latest COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’ is raising concerns across the globe tonight as several travel restrictions have already been put in place and the World Health Organization has labeled it a ‘variant of concern’ because of its rapid spread in South Africa.

There has yet to be a confirmed case of the Omicron strain in the U.S., but Sanford’s Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Avish Nagpal says it’s likely already here, and just hasn’t been detected yet. He added new variants of covid are something we’ll likely have to live with forever.

“This is not the first variant, and it certainly will not be the last one,” he said.

At this point, Nagpal says it’s too soon to tell if the current covid vaccines won’t protect against the new strain as it takes about three to four weeks to gather and review data.

“I think we just need to give it some time for our scientists to conduct some tests in the lab and study epidemiological trends and I think we are going to be ok,” Nagpal said.

Officials’ main concern with the new variant is it could be more contagious than the current Delta strain, but on the bright side, Nagpal says so far, those infected with Omicron have had mild cases.

“We are all a little on the edge given our experience over the last two years, so we may be overreacting a little bit right now. It’s always good to be cautious but we have to be careful not to panic,” Nagpal said.

Nagpal says with the vaccine and many therapies, as well as the several anti-viral medications coming up the pipeline, there’s no need to cancel any upcoming holiday plans or drastically change the way you’re living. He says regardless of which strain we’re dealing with, the prevention and treatment options are relatively the same.

“We’ll be ok, we don’t need to do anything new. We just have to be smart at how we do things,” Nagpal said.

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