Omicron Variant: What to Know
On November 24, a new variant of the COVID-19 virus was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). Two days later on November 26, the WHO classified the Omicron Variant as a “Variant of Concern.” The first detected cases were found in Botswana and South Africa and have now been detected in the United States.
What is known about the Omicron Variant according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)?
- How easily does Omicron spread?
The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original COVID-19 virus. The CDC anticipates the Omicron infection spreading from infected persons to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
- Will vaccines work against Omicron?
Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe sickness, hospitalizations and deaths due to infection. However, breakthrough infections are expected to occur.
- Will treatments work against Omicron?
Scientists are still working to determine how well existing COVID-19 treatments work. Based on what is known about the genetic makeup of the Omicron variant, some treatments are likely to remain effective while others may be less so.
- Will Omicron cause more severe illness?
More data are needed to know if Omicron infections but so far, cases have been mild. Patients have been experiencing dry cough, fever, chills, night sweats and body pain. No loss of taste or smell has been reported.
The CDC is working to gather data and samples that can be studied to resolve unanswered questions about the Omicron variant.
UnitedHealth Extends Cost Share Waivers
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human services has extended the national public health emergency to January 15, 2022. As a result, UnitedHealthcare has extended the cost share waiver period for in-network and out-of-network COVID-19 tests and test-related visits. All cost share updates and revisions can be found on uhcprovider.com or by clicking here.
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