While there are no known cases of the Omicron variant yet in the US, Philly was still averaging over 254 cases of COVID per day.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The threat of the new COVID-19 omicron variant was on the mind of some people in Philadelphia Saturday night, who were out enjoying the holiday season with their families.
"We've been trying to be as safe as we can and just trying to do a couple things normal, but still take that precaution," said Kate Wise, who had brought her grandson to Christmas Village. She, and her other family members, kept their masks handy to play it safe.
"He's a micro-preemie," she said of her grandson, "and we always worry about him."
"Covid is not over. There are still variants popping out that's for sure and there's also a lot of people," said Liron Marmin from West Chester. She says she has been reading up on the new Omicron variant and it's one reason she won't be traveling abroad to see family for the holidays.
"Any new variant that comes out is worrisome to me because you don't know the strength and you really don't know how good the current vaccines are against the new variants because it's hard to tell what mutations they have," she said.
Experts say this new COVID variant is different for several reasons. The first is how quickly it's spreading in countries like South Africa.
"The second is the mutations in the spike protein where our antibodies work making a lot of us concerned our vaccines may be less effective against this variant," said Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.
While there are no known cases of the Omicron variant yet in the US, Philadelphia was still averaging over 254 cases of COVID-19 per day as of last week.
"I'm worried about the people who aren't being safe but I know that I'm being safe and people I'm around are being safe so I just make sure that I'm staying around people practicing safe COVID practices," said Kouri Peace from Chalfont.
"We've mainly been outside, most of the time, and if we're going in really crowded areas we're putting our masks on and stuff like that," said John Paul from Paoli.
With these new variants, health experts are again stressing the importance of vaccinations.