New variant a reminder that coronavirus is here to stay

Published 6:00 am Sunday, November 28, 2021

First there was Delta.

Now we have Omicron.

A group of World Health Organization leaders announced on Friday that a new coronavirus variant, dubbed “omicron,” has emerged in Africa.

WHO experts say the variant, which is still not fully understood, could carry an increased risk of reinfection compared with other variants, meaning even if you recovered from COVID-19 and have been vaccinated, you could become reinfected.

That’s unsettling news in our nation struggling to find some sense of normalcy and balance after more than year of living under pandemic protocols.

Barely a week ago, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves suspended the last vestiges of the COVID-19 protocols, a move welcomed by many.

With 47 percent of Mississippi’s population fully vaccinated, boosters available for adults and vaccines available for children as young as 5 years old, many among us have shifted our focus from panic to learning to minimize risks as much as possible while regaining some of the normalcy of our lives. WE returned to football stadiums and family tables this fall, relishing the start of a holiday season where we once again felt comfortable gathering together with friends and family.

Retailers have eagerly awaited the return of the shopping season, typically one of the most profitable for large and small alike, and a barometer of the economic confidence we have as shoppers.

So what do we do about Omicron?

For now, we watch and wait. We listen to trusted doctors and, if we so choose, take the COVID vaccines and booster shots.

We remain mindful of the hygiene practices we embraced over the past two years: washing our hands, distancing if we’re sick, being mindful of others with weakened immune systems or health issues.

And we remember that coronavirus, much like the influenza virus, will be something we face for years to come, in different variants and different seasons.