Omicron variant remains a concern, but isn’t impacting daily life
The omicron variant of COVID-19 has not yet been detected in the United States. But the virus is still taking a toll on New Jersey hospitals.
The number of COVID-19 patients in state hospitals has now surpassed 1,000. The last time the numbers were that high was in the beginning of October. But hospital officials say that they are nowhere near overwhelmed.
While New Jersey residents are becoming increasingly aware of omicron, it does not seem to be enough to disrupt their lives.
Hockey fans flocked the Prudential Center in Newark for the New Jersey Devils game. Masks and vaccine passes are required.
“We’ve gone through this the last two years, so I’m fine with it now,” says one fan.
LIVE UPDATES: COVID-19 developments from the U.S. and around the world
As the pandemic gets closer to the two-year mark, the virus has gone through peaks and valleys. New Jersey is riding another wave right now. Doctors blame the cold weather, the holidays and mask fatigue. There are also concerns that people aren’t getting COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
“That’s something we really need to work on and that’s something we do fear may feed into increasing numbers as the winter goes on,” says Dr. Suraj Saggar, chief of infectious diseases at Holy Name.
It is unclear how omicron will impact New Jersey. Doctors who remain in the thick of the COVID-19 fight say that they are not yet panicking. But they are concerned.
MORE: Search for a Cure
COVID RESOURCES: COVID-19 vaccine resources and case data
The early fear with omicron is that the vaccines and antibody treatments may not work.
“If we do lose the vaccines, that will be certainly a blow,” Saggar says.
Experts say that it could take months to update the vaccines.
Back at the Devils game, fan Christian Erickson. says he has studied up on omicron and that when the time to worry comes, he will know. But for now, he says he is a proud season ticket-holder.
“As long as people around keep their mask on, no problem. Obviously there are people who choose not to, that’s their prerogative. But I kinda shrink away from them,” he says.
The policy at the Prudential Center is to show your vaccine card or wear a mask – unless you are eating. There isn’t any sign that this will change any time soon.