Dr. Jha to Newsmax: Panicking Over Omicron Won’t ‘Help Anybody’

Dr. Jha to Newsmax: Panicking Over Omicron Won't 'Help Anybody' (Newsmax/"Wake Up America")

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Friday, 03 December 2021 10:25 AM

Many variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have come and gone, but Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said on Newsmax Friday that the differences in the omicron variant have him "actually worried."

However, he told Newsmax's "Wake Up America" that all the data is not in about the variant and that panicking is "not going to help anybody."

"Viruses have mutations," Jha said. "They all look a little different. But the question is, is this one going to act a bit differently, and all of the early evidence, and I want to be clear, very early, suggests that this one might be a real problem."

The new variant, if it spreads, may cause more reinfections among people who have had COVID-19 already, and it may also turn out to be more contagious, said Jha.

But still, "panicking is not going to help anybody," the doctor said. "We have got to get the data and we will have the data soon. In the next week to 10 days, I think we're going to know a lot more. Until then, people should stay calm."

Jha also commented about the messaging coming from the White House about the continued need for masking and vaccines. He said that while he thinks people should get their advice from experts and not politicians, his advice has been consistent about the need for vaccines, even for people who have already been sick.

"The evidence suggests that the hybrid immunity of someone who has been previously infected and then gets vaccinated is really the best of all," said Jha. "I think people six months out should get a booster. If you're an adult, that to me is the evidence of what it is going to take as the primary way we're going to get us out of this pandemic."

And the omicron variant, while worrisome, "probably won't change the game" when it comes to how to fight back against COVID-19, said Jha.

Meanwhile, nine cases of confirmed omicron infections have popped up in the United States, with several of those people having been fully vaccinated, but Jha noted that those numbers are too small to determine whether or not the current vaccines will protect against the strain.

"We're talking about very tiny numbers," he said. "When you have large outbreaks happening the way we do right now, with delta, with 100,000 Americans getting infected every day, you're going to have some chunk of vaccinated people having breakthroughs as well. We've got nine people with omicron. I don't think we can make any conclusion about how omicron plays out in vaccinated versus unvaccinated people."

"I just don't know that that's a useful way to think about things," said Jha. "We all live in one society. We live in one country. We've got to get people vaccinated."

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