HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Cases of the new omicron variant of COVID-19 are now in Florida.
The first case was discovered Tuesday in Tampa.
Now the question is, could it be here in South Florida already?
The answer is yes if you ask infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty.
“It’s probably already here,” she told Local 10 News’ Janine Stanwood.
Omicron is said to carry an unusually large number of mutations.
Dr. Marty says studies show it is contagious.
“There’s also good news in that so far, most people who have been infected have not had severe disease,” she said.
Local hospitals like the Memorial Healthcare System say they are monitoring the situation,
Virus samples regularly get sent to labs by the state health department for genetic sequencing.
So far, omicron has not been detected, yet.
Also Wednesday, a new study from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer indicates that while the omicron variant chips away at the vaccine’s efficacy, its booster does significantly offset the virus’ impact.
Health experts say that’s why getting that additional shot is important, especially as Americans travel for the holidays.
Late Wednesday, ABC News was given exclusive access inside a Centers for Disease Control meeting.
The director spoke virtually with top scientists about omicron and what to do next.