A masked Apple store employee helps customers during Black Friday at International Plaza on November 26 in Tampa.


We keep hearing about 20 other countries dealing with the omicron COVID-19 variant in the news. Tampa area medical professionals are telling Channel 8 they think it’s already here in Florida too.

Tampa General is already testing COVID samples to see if it’s made its way into our state. Dr. Jason Wilson says the next few weeks will be telling but thinks it’s pretty unlikely that we won’t see the new variant here in Florida. University of Florida biostatistician Ira Longini Jr. told the Tampa Bay Times that’s almost certain to be in the country by now and “probably even in Florida.” As of Tuesday, omicron hasn’t been identified in Florida… or the U.S. for that matter.

Dr Longini says don’t panic. Just get the shot. Dr. Wilson also thinks the vaccines will help, especially since we’re now almost two years into life with the coronavirus. And obviously it’ll help if we mask up when in an indoor public place close to others. Wilson also says if you’re vaccinated, he feels it’s safe to gather with friends and family for the holidays. [Sources: Channel 8, Tampa Bay Times]

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