HOUSTON — New data from Houston Methodist Hospital shows the omicron variant now accounts for 82% of its symptomatic patients. It’s become the majority of the new cases in less than three weeks.
Experts say it took the delta variant three months to surpass 80%. So with another potential spike in sight, how are doctors and nurses handling this?
"I am exhausted, this is like the never-ending story," Dr. Joseph Varon with the Texas Memorial Medical Center said.
Like many in the medical profession, he feels like he can’t catch a break.
"Every time you feel like the number of cases are going down then BOOM," Varon said. "You have another peak of cases."
The new omicron variant is concerning to him and many others because of how rapidly it spreads. He worries about those holiday parties.
"There is no question that we are concerened with the holidays," Varon said. "People are going to drop their guard."
He is not the only one that feels that way, nurses are feeling the same strain.
"It is mentally or emotionally draining," said Elda Ramirez, PhD at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth.
Ramirez has been a nurse for 33 years, and she said it’s been tough on all the nurses.
"Healthcare will never be the same after this experience," she said.
She said the most draining part for them has been the death of patients alone in the ICU.
"We have spent the last minutes with them since they have no family," Ramirez said.
Varon said the studies so far show the omicron variant is not so deadly, and he hopes it stays that way.
He also knows that a spike after the holidays will be inevitable, which will be tough again on all those healthcare workers.
"The staff is truly exhausted because we have been through this," Varon said. "And even though, we are getting better at treating COVID, and we understand the illness much better, people are still scared. They're tired."