KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 is not the news people want to hear.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a number of maps on its website.

The county by county map shows that community transmission of the coronavirus throughout nearly all of Kansas is high, which is what’s in red. In Missouri, the situation’s the same. Now medical experts in our area are sounding the alarm.

“The virus is not discriminatory,” Director of Infection Prevention at Saint Luke’s Health System Ginny Boos said Tuesday. “So the virus is spreading across the country and doesn’t differentiate between a restaurant, a school, a clinic, a hospital, a Chiefs game, a family gathering, it just is.”

Boos said the virus is looking for a host, and that host is a person. She said it’s highly contagious, particularly dangerous to those who are unvaccinated, and it even poses a risk to those who are vaccinated. You’re less likely to have a severe infection, but she says you can still transmit the virus easily in a restaurant setting.

“Omicron is already here, without question,” she said.

Opinions differ though, especially in the business community.

“I just think if there’s going to be an impact, we haven’t felt it yet in Kansas City,” Executive Director of the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Bill Tell said last Friday. “We haven’t felt it yet in Kansas City. We hear about it on the coasts. We hear about it in South Africa and Europe, but maybe we just haven’t felt it yet in Kansas City.”

It turns out though, omicron is in fact the dominant strain in our region. According to another map from the CDC, more than 77% of cases in our region between Sunday, Dec. 26 and Saturday, Jan.1 were of the omicron strain.

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