Dr. Dowell on COVID: This Virus Wants Fresh Meat, So It Keeps Changing to Survive
Dr. Mark Dowell, Natrona County Health Officer with Rocky Mountain Infectious Diseases, recently spoke with Mark Hyman of Casper 1 TV about a variety of topics surround COVID-19 and its recent variants.
Hyman referenced comments made by Dr. Fauci (before he called a senator a moron), who said that, before it's all over, COVID is going to impact everybody in some way, shape, or form.
"It's grim," Dr. Dowell said. "But the nice thing, if there is such a thing about Omicron, is that it seems to be a little less aggressive. Delta was a monster and it's still around, but not nearly as much as Omicron."
Dowell said that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 reminds him of a poor man's version of the measles. He said it's very contagious and it will make you ill, even if you're boosted, but it won't put you in the hospital, for the most part.
Dowell said that very view people who contracted the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have had to go to the ICU or have been hooked up to a ventilator.
"[Omicron] is probably gonna hit most of the population at some point, because it's so contagious, because a significant amount of 65 million Americans are still not vaccinated and because people aren't masking in a good part of the country," Dowell said.
Dowell reasserted that masking up is vital, but even more vital is getting the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot.
"It's the answer to all of this," he said. "Pills are not the answer. Monoclonal antibodies are not the answer. Never getting it in the first place is not the answer. But how do [we] get there? I wish I knew."
Hyman asked Dr. Dowell who is most at risk for Omicron, and Dr. Dowell made no bones about it.
"Everybody's getting it," he said. "All age groups. And the funny thing is, if you're boosted, you're not gonna get very sick and you're not gonna transmit it very much. But if you're not boosted or you're not vaccinated, you're gonna get sicker. What's happening from the biology standpoint is, this virus wants fresh meat. So it keeps changing to survive to find its host. And if we're not mostly protected, we'll select out the next variant. And the next variant. And people will complain, but the problem is, it doesn't have to be this way."
Dowell then made yet another plea to those who still refuse to get the vaccine.
"Go get the vaccine," he said. "Stop this. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of seeing people die in the hospital. I'm sick of seeing it disrupt our economy and the community."
Dowell also said wearing a mask is essential in protecting others from Omicron and all of the other variants of COVID-19.
"Do I wear one?" he asked. "Heck yeah.I don't want to get Corona. I don't want to pass it to somebody else. I'm still doing it. I'm not taking a change for me and my family. I'm not even flying to Florida to visit my 86 year old mother, and I haven't even seen her in two-and-a-half years, but I don't want to bring this to somebody that's older and may not have had a full response to the vaccine. I don't want to hurt my family."
Dr. Dowell explained that COVID numbers are "right on the edge of it exploding," as well.
"Almost everything in the state is Omicron," he said. "Our hospitalizations will lag behind our number of infections, but out positivity rate on testing is between 30% and 50% of all people getting tested have COVID. It's all over the place."
Dr. Dowell said that he can't force people to do anything, but he can make suggestions. And that is what he will continue to do.