According to the Houston Methodist genome sequencing program, 32% of the hospital’s COVID-19 tests on symptomatic patients are now omicron— an increase from 13% four days ago.

“Given the increase we are seeing in omicron, we could very possibly be at 100% omicron by January. That would be a faster sweep than even the delta variant, which took about a three-month span to sweep prior variants and achieve 100%. It is also possible that delta remains in some equilibrium with omicron over time,” said S. Wesley Long, medical director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist.

With more than 50 mutations in the omicron variant, studies from other countries where omicron was discovered earlier than in the U.S. shows it may be more likely to cause symptomatic breakthrough infection and may be more infectious than even the highly contagious delta variant.

Experts are asking the community to double down on taking precautions.