As the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus takes hold in some areas of the country, Gov. Andy Beshear says he expects it to cause a surge in cases in Kentucky over the holidays, and urged more vaccination to fight it.
Beshear said Thursday that the big factor in the coming surge “is how many people get their booster” shot of a Covid-19 vaccine. He also urged initial vaccinations, saying any natural immunity from having Covid-19 may not protect as well against the Omicron variant, which is still being researched.
With a booster shot, “You’re pretty well protected. You’ll free up that hospital capacity, if it comes in a crunch, that others will need,” he said. “So please, for the holiday season, if you haven’t gotten vaccinated, go get vaccinated.”
Beshear also asked Kentuckians to think about how they hold holiday gatherings, keeping in mind the vaccination status of the attendees, using masks and perhaps having smaller gatherings than planned.
“Try to protect one another,” he said, relating the pandemic to the tornado disaster in the western half of the state. “We’ve seen horrific loss of life . . . I see the outpouring of love; take care of each other.”
Beshear said he had not been notified that the variant is in Kentucky, but “It’s unquestionably here” and is spreading faster than previous variants. Researchers still don’t know how strong it is, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said current vaccines will work on it.