Expert demystifies the omicron variant


(NewsNation Now) — Dr. Carl Lambert, a Rush University Medical Center family physician, joined “Morning in America” to clarify misconceptions about the highly transmissible omicron variant.

How contagious is the variant if you are vaccinated and boosted?

Lambert says the variant is very contagious and it “rivals the likes of measles.”

“Unfortunately we are seeing patients who are fully vaccinated and even those who’ve gotten boosters that they still can be asymptomatic carriers. So, they may not have symptoms themselves, but they’re still able to shed the virus and spread it to others,” he said.

Is a five-day quarantine long enough for vaccinated individuals?

“It really depends upon if you’re symptomatic or not. Per the CDC guidelines, if you’re asymptomatic and you’ve been exposed then you can wait about three to seven days to even get tested,” Lambert said. “Even if you do come back to the office we have to be incredibly careful. And the main thing that I want to push is to make sure that you’re masking at all times.”

What is the proper testing window for someone who has been exposed to the virus?

Lambert says to consult with your care physician to determine the right time to be tested.

“It really comes down to three things when I talk to my own patients: your vaccination status, if you’ve truly been exposed and also if you’re having symptoms,” he said. “If you have symptoms of any kind you should be tested right away.”

“Exposed means that you’ve been within six feet of someone with known COVID for about 15 minutes or more,” he added.

Lambert said if you’re exposed and vaccinated you can wait up to seven days to be tested. Lambert encouraged all unvaccinated individuals to get tested immediately if they are experiencing symptoms.

Do children and teens need a booster?

“That’s the million-dollar question right now. We really don’t know that quite yet. Some information is still mounting,” Lambert said. “Authorization for vaccines for kids came out in May and October respectively. So, the data is still being determined. Children’s immune systems are said to be a little bit more robust and they tend to be more resolute. So they may not need a booster.”

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