Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, informed Newsmax that there is ''absolutely no reason to panic'' about the COVID-19 omicron variant, citing data showing decreased severity and mortality of the virus.
''Taking a deep breath is good,'' Jha told ''Eric Bolling: The Balance'' on Thursday.
Jha said he was ''still worried about the next four-six weeks,'' indicating the virus may infect up to a third of all Americans, or roughly 100 million people. He added, however, that most would weather the new wave fine.
''If you're vaccinated, if you're boosted, if you've recently recovered from an infection, you're going to have relatively mild disease,'' the doctor clarified. He added that his main concerns were high-risk Americans and hospital capacity.
When asked by host Eric Bolling if it was safe to gather for the holiday season, Jha answered, ''I'll tell you what I'm doing. We're having a family gathering.''
''I wouldn't give up on Christmas and the holidays this year — there's no reason to,'' he said. ''We had to do it last year ... [but] a lot of people went ahead anyway, and it was potentially much riskier. I think this year is much, much safer.''
The UK Health Security Agency reported on Thursday that people with the omicron variant of COVID-19 are 50% to 70% less likely to need hospital care compared with those with previous variants, according to the BBC.
Omicron is now the dominant COVID-19 variant in the United States and spreading faster than any recorded, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
Washington, D.C., hit 150 total COVID cases per 100,000 on Thursday, and New York City is close behind, according to the Times. Health officials expect the strain to break records, with some estimates showing that the U.S. could reach 1 million cases a day before the end of the year.
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