Omicron Has Landed

Robin Schoenthaler, MD
7 min readDec 27, 2021

And It’s Everywhere

Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash

I’m a Boston-based cancer doctor and I’ve been writing weekly fact-based-no-blame-no-rumors-all-science-all-the-time essays about Covid-19 since March 2020.

You can read my older views on why you should get your cold symptoms tested here — or about boosters here — or you can read about vaccines/anti-vaxxers throughout history here

It was a very Omicron Christmas for many of us. As cases soar (70,000 at the end of October; over 200,000 today), I had countless friends and relatives who suddenly had to cancel, adjust, or scale down their celebrations because of people finding out they were positive on Thursday or Friday or even in the car on the way over to open presents.

The ripple effect of having so many people get Covid and needing to isolate for 5, 7, or 10 days (recommendations are evolving) is happening as we speak: schools and daycares closing because not enough teachers, flights cancelled because not enough crew, restaurants shuttering because not enough staff, church/temples cancelling in-person services because the leaders are sick.

And most importantly, hospitals forced to limit access because so many staff can’t come in. Even today, several Boston-area Urgent Cares and testing centers closed early because they were over capacity. Hospitals are already cancelling any non-urgent surgery requiring admission. There aren’t enough blood donations so transplant surgeries are at risk. Many in-person clinics may need to close; some already have.

We’ve even had to bring in the National Guard to Boston to help out at our hospitals.

It also looks like it will be, unfortunately, be A Very Omicron New Year’s Eve.

What do we know this week?

Is Omicron infecting vaccinated people? Yes. Usually their disease is milder.

Is Omicron infecting previously infected people? Yes. Usually their disease is likewise milder.

Is Omicron infecting boosted people? Not as often but sometimes. Boosters definitely help decrease your chance of getting it. If you do get Covid anyways, your illness is usually milder.

Is Omicron infecting unvaccinated people? Yes, like crazy. Unvaccinated people are the…

Robin Schoenthaler, MD

Covid-Translator. Cancer doc: ~Three decades at MGH. Writer and storyteller: Moth Grand Slam Champion. Mom., @robinshome,