Much about the new variant of the virus is still unknown, but with the holiday season arriving, the concern to protect yourself is even greater.By Lindsay Ward

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is something so many in the health community are talking about and what many people at home may be thinking about, as well.

With more cases of the variant being found, even here in Pennsylvania, doctors are learning more about it.

Much about the new variant of the virus is still unknown, but with the holiday season arriving, the concern to protect yourself is even greater.

Dr. Daniel Rhoads, a microbiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, says it will take more time to determine if the Omicron variant is just as or more contagious than the Delta variant, which is the dominant variant of the virus right now.

It’s also unclear whether the Omicron variant can cause more serious symptoms.

With so many unknowns, doctors continue to encourage people to be cautious with COVID.

That means sticking to what so many of us already know, including mask wearing, social distancing, and sanitizing.

“It seems to be spreading quickly in South Africa, so that is concerning, because for the last couple of months, no other variant has been able to compete with Delta,” Dr. Rhoads said.

Dr. Rhoads also recommends being vaccinated and getting tested for the virus, as that data is useful when it comes to knowing more about variants.