Breaking Down the Omicron – the New COVID-19 Variant

First of all, let’s address the Greek letter, “Omicron.” Turns out, the Greek alphabet has two “o” letters, namely Omega (Ω, ω), which we are generally familiar with, as well as Omicron. 😲 Whaz dat? And why so many?

Let’s break it down. “Micron” means small. Clever. Omicron or Omikron letters are O and o; Omega letters are Ω and ω. I consider all of them versions of the “o” that we know of today. Omega was supposedly pronounced a little longer than Omicron, like “ooooo,” since “mega” means big. Omicron was perhaps pronounced like “o!” with staccato. 🤓 I know, right???

Back to the more pressing issue here — this new COVID-19 strain. The B.1.1.529 strain, now called Omicron. We have been expecting you, oh dear Omicron.

Guys! Every new infection is a new chance for the COVID-19 virus to mutate into something different. We welcome the weaker “difference” but ya can’t stop the monsters from popping out of these mutations. We are essentially walking incubators and yes–incubating these baby viruses. Try to continue to stay away from crowds–or keep a distance from anyone outside of your “pod”, including your neighbors. Hah! Just wave to your neighbors! Wave and yell loudly under your mask! Ya don’t need to get up close and personal.

What we know so far:

  • Omicron started in South Africa
  • Our dear Omicron’s spike protein, which binds to our ACE2 receptor, has 10 mutations, i.e. Omicron carries more mutations than Delta
  • May have increased risk of reinfection
  • Found in Belgium, carried by a traveler returning to Belgium from Egypt (so it is present in both Belgium and Egypt)
  • Found in Israel, carried by a traveler to Israel from Malawi
  • Found in Hong Kong
  • Some countries have imposed travel restrictions, blocking inbound and outbound flights from South Africa etc.

What do we need to do now? Keep up the keeping up! Keep wearing masks. Double mask! Be outdoors (yay, winter! 😳) or keep the indoor air ventilated. Keep Zoom-ing! And seriously, we need avatars asap!

Get inspired for fun and fashionable masks. And face shields, I guess.
Photo from The Star. Accessed November 26, 2021.

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