GHENT, WV (WVNS)– The new Omicron COVID-19 variant was found. What is the new variant and why should we be concerned?

The variant was discovered in South Africa at the beginning of November. University of Virginia (UVA) Professor of Infectious Diseases, Dr. William Petri, said it’s more infectious than the Delta variant.

“It’s concerning because it replaced the Delta variant in South Africa. Omicron could outcompete Delta indicates-at least in South Africa- it’s more infectious,” Dr. Petri said.

Even though Omicron is more infectious, it’s not as severe. The symptoms are mild and according to Dr. Petri, and it won’t be long until the United States sees its first case.

“Tomorrow we might get the first report. There’s at least one case in Canada,” Dr. Petri said.

He also said once Omicron is present in the U.S., residents might see a rise in cases.

The best way to combat this variant, according to Dr. Petri is the COVID vaccine and booster shots. If you received the Johnson and Johnson vaccination, Petri recommended getting a booster shot after two months of receiving the regular vaccinations. After receiving the initial two vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, patients will need a booster shot after six months.

Another disease to watch out for is Influenza. Dr. Petri said the peak time for the a new mutation of Influenza is around January to February 2022. The new mutation or H3N2 is more severe than the average flu. Dr. Petri suggested residents receive both the COVID and Influenza vaccination.