HHSA Newsroom

OMICRON: Public Health officials explain how infectious variants mutate 11/29/2021

Published December 8, 2021

A new variant of coronavirus was identified in early November in South Africa and is now known as the Omicron variant.

So, what is a variant, and what causes them?

COVID-19 is a virus,” explained Anna Vietti, a community education specialist for Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). “So, when a virus takes hold of your body, it has a reaction to it. Therefore, the more bodies it can get into, it can cause changes, which we call mutation.

Vietti says the more a virus mutates, the more it creates variations of that virus known as variants.

There are three levels of warning when it comes to variants.

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