Omicron variant raises concern, but doctors say delta variant more dangerous in Minnesota right now

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Japan, France and Brazil have now reoprted their first cases of the omicron variant. Scientists around the world are still working to determine how contagious it is, whether it makes people more seriously ill and how effective it is against existing vaccines.

Meanwhile, some doctors in the Twin Cities say the delta variant should still be Minnesotans’ biggest worry.

Dr. Beth Thielen, an infectious disease doctor with M Health Fairview and the University of Minnesota Medical School, says most of her patients these past few days have wanted to know how the vaccine will hold up against the new variant. She says it’s too early to know.

"The protection is not likely to be black or white, but somewhere in the gray area … in the middle," she said.

She also warns against becoming too preoccupied with what might be coming and instead focus on the variant that is already driving up numbers across the metro.

"I also want people to be aware we are in the middle of a big surge with the delta variant. If I had to tell people the most important reason to get vaccinated, it’s the COVID that’s already here…that’s hospitalizing Minnesotans across the state," said Thielen.