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Badger Talks – Does omicron change our pandemic future?

December 10, 2021 By Kelly April Tyrrell

As we confront another new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 — this one with a name we can’t seem to agree how to pronounce — it’s natural to worry that the pandemic will stretch forever into the future. But, says University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Professor of Population Health Sciences Ajay Sethi, as scientists continue to work to understand omicron, it’s important to stay patient.

“COVID is here to stay and we have to continue to manage it. We have the tools,” says Sethi, who is also director of the Master of Public Health Program at SPMH.

Especially in light of new variants, being vaccinated and boosted “greatly reduces your risk for experiencing severe illness or worse,” he adds, and past infection is not enough to protect some people from negative outcomes.

Can we expect new variants to continue to emerge? Sethi discusses this in the latest Badger Talks and offers guidance for what we should do about it.