PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – News of the new omicron variant comes as crushing disappointment to those of us who had hoped the pandemic would lift after the delta surge was over. And while the concerns are great, so is the uncertainty.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh Adalja says it’s not known if this new variant is more transmissible or dangerous than the ones that have gone before.

READ MORE: Search For Suspects Continues After Student Killed In Shooting Outside Oliver Citywide Academy

“There is a lot of uncertainty which is driving a lot of concern because people want answers now, and we don’t have answers yet, but we’re getting more and more answers by the minute,” he said.

Initially, the news is good. Even if omicron is found to be more transmissible, Adalja says vaccines should remain effective against it.

“It does appear the vaccines protect against serious disease. Maybe a breakthrough infection might be more common with omicron but you’re still likely protected against what matters: serious disease, hospitalization and death. So it may be that the vaccine is the key to keeping this and other variants at bay,” said Adalja.

READ MORE: When Should You Take A PCR Test Vs. A Rapid Antigen Test?

What it does mean is that COVID is here to stay and while omicron is a new variant, it won’t be the last. Dr. Adalja says we need to buckle up for the long-term, and the best way to do that, he says, is to get vaccinated and then get your booster.

“This is the new normal. COVID-19 is going to be with us. The post-pandemic world is a world where COVID-19 exists. We can’t rewind back to 2019. So we have to use the tools that science has given us to be able to make things safer. And we can do this and there’s no need to think of this as a cataclysmic event because there’s going to be another variant after omicron,” he said.

WATCH: Pam Surano Reports

MORE NEWS: Fox Chapel Area School District Brings New Therapy Resource To Students And Staff

Dr. Matthew Moffa, an infectious disease specialist with Allegheny Health Network believes travel restrictions may help slow the spread while mitigation efforts aren’t as strict as they were this time last year, especially coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday.