Local infectious disease doctor: Omicron variant seems like weaker cousin to Delta

Dr. Luther Rhodes says should you test positive, be proactive and early detection is key.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As of now, there's a lot of uncertainly surrounding the latest COVID-19 variant named omicron.

But infectious disease specialist Dr. Luther Rhodes of the Lehigh Valley Health Network says a new variant was bound to happen.

"I don't know how many letters there are in the Greek alphabet, but there will be as many strains as they can figure out new names," said Rhodes.

He adds for a variety of reasons, don't panic.

"If anything, it seems to be like somewhat of a weaker cousin to delta," added Rhodes.

He also says treatments have shown to be just as effective against omicron as they have against any known variant.

"I'll use the same medications that I've used for the past six to eight months. There is no reason from what I read about the omicron strain to think it's more resistant," said Rhodes.

He says should you test positive, be proactive and early detection is key.

"Call your doctor. See what they can offer you," said Rhodes.

RELATED: Philadelphia resident tests positive for COVID-19 Omicron variant
The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia and the tri-state area showcase counts are rising.

Rhodes says he sees new patients every day with the virus. But there's one common theme with those hospitalized.

"Most people, truth be told, will tell you they made a mistake by not getting vaccinated or by delaying the booster," said Rhodes.

He also believes omicron has been in the area for quite some time, and it's unlikely to have spread from South Africa, where it was first detected, across the world so quickly.

But instead, he believes testing to identify new variants has gotten better.

ALSO RELATED: 1st case of omicron variant detected in New Jersey

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