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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Omicron strain now dominant in Yucatán

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Teacher receives a Moderna COVID-19 booster shot at Yucatán’s Siglo XXI Convention Center. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 now appears to be the most common form of the virus in Yucatán.

Though on average, symptoms resulting from the Omicron variant tends to be less severe, health authorities in Yucatán are warning the public to not become complacent. 

COVID-19 infections have surged since the beginning of 2022, bringing an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.

“It is important that we do not let our guard down at this critical time. Despite the success of the vaccination program, it’s important to ensure that we continue to obey all health protocols,” said the state’s health secretary, Mauricio Sauri Vivas.

But recent studies and reports from South Africa suggest that the surge of the Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus may in fact bring with it a silver lining. 

“The surge of the fast-spreading Omicron variant in Africa appears to have peaked and is flattening in most African countries as immunity in the population appears to be increasing,” reported South Africa’s national news service. 

Earlier: Yucatán’s COVID hospitalizations begin to creep up

Some epidemiologists are suggesting that the trend seen in South Africa is likely to be replicated in other regions around the world, including Mexico — yet others remain cautious in making such optimistic forecasts. 

Though COVID-19 vaccinations are not 100% effective in preventing infection, they have proven extremely successful in mitigating symptoms and preventing hospitalization, a fact which appears to remain true for the Omicron variant.  

To date, Yucatán has received nearly 3.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, making it per capita one of the most vaccinated states in the country. 

Vaccinations continue across the state with residents between 15 and 18 scheduled to get their second dose this week across several municipalities. 

An additional lot of 50,000 vaccines also arrived during the weekend to offer booster shots to people in their 40s in rural Yucatán. Health authorities have not yet announced when the booster shot will be offered to this same cohort in Mérida, but an announcement is expected within the next month. 

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