Fairhope Fights the Omicron Variant


Meredith C. Lee, Reporter

A large number of students have been sent home in the past few days with COVID-19, many of whom are believed to be infected with the Omicron variant. On Tuesday alone, Principal Cardwell released an email stating that 20 students were reported with suspected or diagnosed COVID results in the school. Cardwell stated that he believes that “the numbers reported here may not include all who have COVID in our school.” Due to many of the student population being asymptomatic or refusing tests in general, many students most likely are infected with COVID and are unaware. Due to these rising numbers, FHS is continuing to sanitize buildings daily with “hospital grade cleaners.” Buses, cafeterias, and bathrooms will be sanitized multiple times a day. By Friday, January 07, 2022, a total of 33 students were sent home due to COVID. In order to keep our school safe from shut down, please remember to socially distance yourself from highly populated areas without a medical-grade mask and greatly consider vaccination to ensure the safety of others.

The Omicron Variant has greatly halted the progress for normality in the past months. According to Aljazeera, the Omicron variant of SARS-Cov-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrom Coronavirus 2) is a variant that will continue to spread rapidly but is much “milder” than previous variants. This is due to a lack of lung infections, allowing for a lower death rate. However, Omicron still harbors multiple different mutations that allow it to be highly transmissible and infectious. A team of researchers at the Hong Kong’s University of Medicine found that Omicron has the possibility to replicate 70 times faster than the previous Delta variant in the human airways. According to the research, which is yet to be reviewed, the Omicron variant also replicated at a less efficient pace, almost 10 times lower, once it reaches the human lung tissue. Physician Roby Bhattacharyya states that “one case of measles can cause 15 cases within 12 days” in comparison to how “one case of Omicron can rise to 36” within 4-6 days! The Omicron varient has broken the record for the most rapidly spreading virus, once held by the 14th century Black Death. World Health Organization states that “even if Omicron does cause less-severe disease, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems.” So, once more, please consider vaccination or continue to wear a mask and socially distance yourself from non-vaccinated individuals.