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Listen: How Washington health officials are preparing for the omicron COVID variant

A man with dark hair walks down a city sidewalk. There's a large sign that says Stay Safe next to him.
Alastair Grant
The Associated Press
Pedestrians wearing face masks against the coronavirus walk along Regent Street in London on Nov. 30, 2021. The emergence of the new COVID-19 omicron variant and the world's desperate and likely futile attempts to keep it at bay are reminders of what scientists have warned for months: The coronavirus will thrive as long as vast parts of the world lack vaccines.

State health officials are bracing for yet another COVID-19 variant: omicron. The variant has been detected in South Africa, Europe and elsewhere. Experts say it's only a matter of time before we find it in the U.S., and that it is likely already here. As of right now, there are few confirmed cases of omicron and little data about the variant.

Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins joined Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick to talk more about it.

Tune in to KNKX at 7:45 a.m. Tuesdays to catch these chats live.

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Vivian McCall is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host. She previously spent eight years as a reporter in Chicago, where she wrote for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ public radio.