By Rachael Cardin

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Like any virus, COVID-19 has mutated and will continue to do so with new strains emerging in the future. How you protect yourself now can make all the difference, health care experts say.

Doctors highly recommend getting vaccinated and boosted, in addition to masking, social distancing and washing your hands.

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Dr. Mark Olszyk, chief medical officer for Carroll Hospital, said it might not be the best news, but it is inevitable that COVID-19 will mutate again, and we will likely see new variants surface in the coming months.

“A lot remains to be seen, it’s still a very dynamic virus and it will continue to change,” Olszyk said.

Delta made headlines because of how severe it is and Omicron because of how contagious it is, but there have been other variants since the onset of the pandemic that we never really heard about. That’s because they did not make waves like these two did.

And, Olszyk said, there are more variants to come.

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“Any new variant that you do hear about will almost certainly be more transmissible than Omicron,” the doctor said.

It is likely that newer variants might not be as severe as previous ones, but how they infect people and their impact will all depend on each person’s age, health conditions and vaccination status.

Admiral Rachel Levine, assistant secretary of health for the Department of Health and Human Services, said we cannot take our foot off the gas at this moment in history.

“I understand how challenging it is, but we cannot give up now,” Levine said. “We have so many tools in our public health toolbox that we didn’t have before.”

“Get vaccinated, get boosted, get your kids vaccinated. That’s the best way that you can protect yourself, your family, your community,” she added.

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Doctors told WJZ if you got all your shots and still contracted COVID-19, chances are you are highly immune to any new variants, but it is important to keep yourself safe with all practices.

Rachael Cardin