AdventHealth Doctor: Omicron Is Not The Common Cold

Only One Monoclonal Treatment Is Effective Against Omicron

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Orlando, FL - During a press conference Wednesday, Dr. Vincent Hsu, AdventHealth executive director of infection prevention, said many of those now hospitalized have primary COVID with shortness of breath, cough, and low oxygen saturation. The good thing is that not that many are in the ICU. but this does not mean that Omicron is not a serious virus. "It is not the common cold. You don't see people hospitalized, on ventilators, and in the ICU for a common cold. With Omicron, even though it may not be as virulent or severe as the Delta variant, it can still cause significant disease."

As school gets back underway, Dr. Hsu said they are seeing a greater number of children being hospitalized and the numbers are approaching what was seen with the Delta variant. He recommends that children wear facemasks as often as possible, especially in school. "The patients we have in the children's hospital are in for COVID-related illnesses, they may have chronic preexisting illnesses, lung disease, for example. COVID adds that extra punch that lands them in the hospital."

As for treating COVID, vaccination plus the booster is the best way to go. Dr. Hsu said the Omicron variant is less affected by monoclonal antibody treatments, with only one having any success and that one is in short supply. "The only one that really appears to be effective is called Sotrovimab. The Regeneron, the Regen-covi, the  bamlanivimab, and etesevimab, are not thought to be effective against the Omicron variant. So in this case, it's really important to emphasize avoidance, vaccination, social distancing, masking, especially if someone is at risk."

Dr. Hsu said that "people should avoid going to the Emergency Room just for a COVID-19 test, he said, and instead seek a home test, a county-run testing site, or an appointment at AdventHealth Centra Care.

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