'Be more worried about delta': Governor Beshear addresses omicron variant concern

Posted at 7:31 AM, Dec 02, 2021

(LEX 18) — Governor Beshear is addressing concerns about the omicron coronavirus variant after the first case in the U.S. was confirmed Wednesday in California.

There are still so many unknowns about this variant since scientists don't know yet how easily it spread, or how the virus may respond to current vaccines.

But the governor is urging Kentuckians to be patient and not panic. He said we should start to receive information about the effectiveness of vaccines against omicron soon.

Beshear also said at this point the delta variant remains Kentucky's biggest concern as cases rise yet again. Yesterday, more than 3,300 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Kentucky. That's the highest number of new cases we've seen since the beginning of October.

"Just because we may get information that the vaccines don't work as well remember it could mean it doesn't make you as sick, as for instance, delta," said Beshear. "What I think we need to be more worried about right now is delta. Our cases are on the rise. Our positivity rate is going up. And it's still putting a lot of people in the hospital and killing a lot of people."

LEX 18 also spoke with an assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Kentucky yesterday who spends a lot of time in South Africa—where the first case of the variant was reported.

Dr. Zach Porterfield was scheduled to travel there soon, but said he's had to delay his trip because of travel restrictions.

"I think the right thing to do is take a moment to pause and think through, you know, what does this mean," said Porterfield.

The U.S. has currently banned travel to and from South Africa and seven other countries in Africa. President Biden said this gives the White House time to prepare.