Give Now  »

Noon Edition

Navigating COVID-19 variants this holiday season

Note: the audio for this show will be available Friday

DJ Ottman processes COVID-19 tests in the lab at Indiana University.

(Courtesy of Indiana University)

Noon Edition airs on Fridays at noon on WFIU.   

The new COVID-19 Omicron variant was detected in Botswana and South Africa in the middle of November, before the World Health Organization classified it as a variant of concern on Nov. 26.

The first confirmed case of Omicron was identified in the United States on Dec. 1, but no cases have been confirmed in Indiana.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the new variant likely spreads easier than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus but is still unsure how its transmission compares to the Delta variant.

In terms of vaccine effectiveness, Pfizer said preliminary laboratory studies show that three doses of its vaccine neutralize the Omicron variant, whereas two doses offer less protection.

While most people have turned their attention to the Omicron variant, Delta is still responsible for almost all the current COVID-19 cases in the United States.

Locally, Monroe County entered the orange advisory level this week after spending the last two months in the lower yellow advisory category. The seven-day positivity rate was 9.9 percent Tuesday. Last week on Tuesday the rate was only 6.5 percent.

READ MORE: Local health leaders say COVID cases and hospitalizations are on the rise

This week on Noon Edition, we talk with public health experts about the Omicron variant and staying safe around the holidays.

You can follow us on Twitter@NoonEditionor send us questions for the show at

Note-This week, our guests and hosts will participate remotely to avoid risk of spreading infection.    


Shandy Dearth, director of undergraduate epidemiology education at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI

Graham McKeen, Assistant University Director of Public and Environmental Health at Indiana University

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From