What We Know about Omicron
CDC has been collaborating with global public health and industry partners to learn about Omicron, as we continue to monitor its course. We are still learning about how easily it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and how well available vaccines and medications work against it.
The Omicron variant spreads more easily than the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Delta variant. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
Persons infected with the Omicron variant can present with symptoms similar to previous variants. The presence and severity of symptoms can be affected by COVID-19 vaccination status, the presence of other health conditions, age, and history of prior infection.
COVID-19 vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19 and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. This includes primary series, booster shots and additional doses for those who need them.
Scientists are working to determine how well existing treatments for COVID-19 work. Public health agencies work with healthcare providers to ensure that effective treatments are used appropriately to treat patients.
We have the Tools to Fight Omicron
Getting vaccinated and staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines is the best way to protect yourself and others against the Omicron variant.
- CDC recommends that everyone 5 years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated.
- Everyone ages 12 years and older should stay up to date
Find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster: Search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.
Well-fitting masks offer protection against all variants.
- Wear a mask with the best fit, protection, and comfort for you.
- If you are not up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines and are aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask indoors in public.
- They or someone they live with has a weakened immune system or is at increased risk for severe disease.
- They are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines or live with someone who is not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines.
Tests can tell you if you have COVID-19. Learn how to get tested.
- Two types of tests are used to test for current infection: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests. NAAT and antigen tests can tell you if you have a current infection.
- Self-tests can be used at home or anywhere, are easy to use, and produce rapid results.
- If your self-test has a positive result, isolate and talk to your healthcare provider.
- If you have any questions about your self-test result, call your healthcare provider or public health department.
Individuals can use the COVID-19 Viral Testing Tool to help determine what kind of test to seek.
Your test result will only tell you if you do or do not have COVID-19. It will not tell you which variant caused your infection. Visit your state, tribal, local, or territorial health department’s website for the latest local information on testing.
It is important to use all tools available to protect yourself and others.