Berg: Guam should not panic over new omicron COVID variant

Dr. Nathaniel Berg (File photo)

The chairman of the Governor’s Physicians Advisory Group said that although there is cause for concern for the new omicron COVID variant, Guam should not panic. Instead, he encouraged more people to get vaccinated or get their COVID booster shots.

“I think that it’s reasonable to be extremely hopeful that this virus variant will be susceptible in some ways to the vaccines that are out there. And the message that needs to get across is don’t panic, we’ll be okay,” Dr. Nathaniel Berg said in an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Pauly Suba.

He added: “We’ll come together as a community as we have done in the past. We’ll fight this just like we’ve done now twice.”

Berg emphasized that vaccination is still the best tool to protect against COVID-19, including the new omicron variant.

“We have people saying, oh, we don’t know if vaccination can protect. Sure, but we’ll deal with that if that happens, but we do have tools right now. And so I want the community of Guam to understand that our best fight is to get that third booster dose,” the doctor said.

He added: “The third vaccine dose or booster shot is really important because we don’t know how dangerous this virus is going to be. I want everyone to be maximally protected.”

The new omicron coronavirus variant is said to be potentially more dangerous than the one that has fueled relentless waves of infection on nearly every continent.

A World Health Organization panel named the variant “omicron” and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the predominant delta variant, which is still a scourge driving higher cases of sickness and death in Europe and parts of the United States.

According to the Associated Press, the Omicron variant’s actual risks are not understood but early evidence suggests it carries an increased risk of reinfection compared with other highly transmissible variants, which means that people who contracted COVID-19 and recovered could be subject to catching it again. It could take weeks to know if current vaccines are less effective against it.