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Huntsville Hospital infectious disease specialist believes omicron variant is already in Alabama

WAAY 31 spoke with an Infectious Disease Specialist to learn more about the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Posted: Dec 5, 2021 4:54 PM
Updated: Dec 5, 2021 8:24 PM

The omicron variant of the coronavirus is in at least 16 states across the U.S. as of Sunday evening, according to the CDC.

One of them is a neighboring state, Georgia.

Local health official believes Omicron variant is in Alabama

Dr. Ali Hassoun with Huntsville Hospital told WAAY 31 he thinks the omicron variant is already in Alabama.

In fact, he thinks it's a lot more prevalent than we currently know, and Dr. Hassoun believes it's in all 50 states.

“It’s probably here because you’ll hear it’s in multiple states and some of these patients did not travel anywhere, they were in their state, so there’s probably exposure already in transmission happening in each state," he said.

Dr. Hassoun is an infectious disease specialist at Huntsville Hospital. While he believes the omicron variant is already in every state, he said there's no way to know for sure until states increase testing.

"It just depends on how much screening is happening and gene sequencing," said Dr. Hassoun.

He said his main concern with the omicron variant is all the unanswered questions.

“If this is going to be an issue whether the type of infection the patient will have, meaning the severity of it, the transmission, the treatment is it effective, and the vaccination, is it going to prevent it?” He wonders.

Some are closer to answers than others.

Dr. Hassoun believes treatments like Rhemdesivir, steroids used in the hospitals, and the monoclonal antibody treatments will continue to be effective in treating the new variant.

As well as the current COVID-19 vaccines in preventing serious illness from the omicron variant.

The omicron variant is shown to be more transmissible than previous variants, especially if people are not vaccinated against Covid-19.

"That’s kind of similar to the previous variant but it’s on a higher rate and if it’s on a higher rate of transmission, that means we’re going to get more cases," said Dr. Hassoun.

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