Health  |  News & Politics

Omicron Variant Is Now in DC

The four known cases are unrelated, and were found in fully vaccinated individuals.

Computer-generated representation of a COVID-19 under electron microscope, courtesy of Wikimedia.

It was really only a matter of time, but now it’s official: Omicron is here in the District. DC Health reported the first four known cases of the variant over the weekend. All four unrelated individuals infected had been fully vaccinated, though it’s unknown whether they had received boosters. Three of them had recently had traveled domestically, including to Virginia, Maryland, Florida, and New York.

According to Georgetown’s student newspaper, one of the four cases is affiliated with the university.

Maryland reported its first cases of Omicron on December 3, and Virginia confirmed finding the variant on December 9. In general, the prevalence of Covid-19 has been creeping up locally: the CDC reports a 38-percent increase in cases and in new hospital admissions in DC over the past week.

While Omicron has been designated by the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern,” its impact is still being studied. Early data indicates that it’s more transmissible, but potentially causes less severe illness.

In light of Omicron’s growing spread, DC Health is again encouraging people to get boosters (and vaccinations, if they haven’t already). You can find vaccination sites here.

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.