'This pandemic is not over': Health officials warn of Covid case uptick with new omicron subvariant

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As hundreds of students are coming back from spring break or leaving, health officials are reminding folks that we are still in a pandemic and we could see an uptick in Covid cases.

Health officials like Minhaj Husain of Aurora Healthcare said the new omicron subvariant is spreading more quickly.

"It's more transmissible, at least 50 percent more transmissible than the previous omicron variant," said Husain.

Some students from Marquette University said for that very reason they opted out from even traveling.

"We don't want this pandemic going even longer than it already has, so staying safe is definitely that top priority," said Nick Raso, a senior at Marquette University.

Other students said new variants of the coronavirus are inevitable and shouldn't stop them from normalcy.

"Its concerning, obviously, because there's people you know you want to keep safe, but at the same time, like this is kind of just like nature. This is what's going to happen," said Molly Graaskamp, a junior at Marquette University.

In either case, Husain says it's still important to practice the safety measures we've been following throughout the pandemic such as wearing a mask, social distancing or getting vaccinated.

According to the city of Milwaukee Health Department, the city currently has a 1.9% positivity rate. Chief Health Policy Advisor Dr. Ben Weston said it's unknown what the backlash of the subvariant will be.

"What sort of effect it will have on us is still unclear and we can see that just looking at Europe. There's some countries, some areas of Europe, the UK, Germany, France, Austria, where cases are rising. There's other places -- Denmark, Spain, where cases aren't rising," said Dr. Ben Weston.

Both health experts said they currently have no reason to think the new omicron subvariant is more lethal than the original.

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