What you should know about the omicron variant and the future of the pandemic

Wayne State University’s Dr. Paul Kilgore says the best way people can defend themselves against the omicron variant is to get vaccinated and boosted and to wear a KN95 mask in public.

A doctor in a protective suit and mask sits on the floor looking tired.

Tired exhausted and desperate doctor in a protective suit and mask sitting on the floor

Two years after the novel coronavirus started spreading around the world, we are now in the midst of one of the most confusing and troubling points of the COVID-19 pandemic. The omicron variant is a viral tidal wave that is infecting more than half-a-million Americans per day. Optimistically, most people are getting relatively mild symptoms – especially if they’re fully vaccinated and boosted. But that’s not true for all, and hospital systems in Michigan say they’re at a breaking point.

“I know how tired everyone is but this is not the time to check out.” — Katherine Wu, staff writer at The Atlantic

Listen: How to keep yourself safe as the omicron variant persists.



Katherine Wu is a staff writer at The Atlantic. Wu says the more COVID-19 cases appear, the more the health system becomes overwhelmed, as it is now. “I know how tired everyone is but this is not the time to check out,” she says.

Wu says the omicron variant has not turned into something like the flu where people can go about their daily lives as they did prior to the pandemic’s onset. “We will not be in this position forever, and the way that we get there is to continue to build our defenses through vaccination,” she says.

Dr. Paul Kilgore is a co-director of Wayne State University’s Center for Emerging and Infectious Diseases and Henry Ford Health System’s Global Health Initiative Senior Investigator. Kilgore says it’s important to wear an KN95 mask in public, get the vaccine and booster shot and get tested if you believe you contracted COVID-19. “If you haven’t had your first or second vaccine dose, please go ahead and start the vaccination process now,” he says.

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  • Sam Corey is a producer for Detroit Today on 101.9 WDET, which includes finding and preparing interesting stories for radio. He enjoys salsa dancing — and actual salsa.