BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Local health leaders are on high alert after new cases of the COVID-19 variant “Omicron” are being reported worldwide.

On Monday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported no cases of the Omicron variant.

Dr. Ronald Andrews at the Baton Rouge Pediatric and Internal Medicine Associates explained what happens when a virus has a variant.

“The easiest way I explain it to people is survival of the fittest. As the virus continues to grow and replicate — it changes to make it usually more virulent, a little stronger, and better to continue to stay alive and thrive,” he said.

National healthcare leaders say we don’t know much about Omicron, but it is showing similarities to the deadly Delta variant.

Dr. Andrews said percent positivity for Omicron in South Africa went from 10 to 30 percent in just two weeks.

“It is definitely more transmissible from person to person, but what we don’t know surely about its long-term side effects,” said Andrews.

Doctor Byron Jasper said people are fatigued and tired of fighting an ever-evolving virus. He said it’s important to remember we do not want another pandemic of the unvaccinated.

“It may not protect you 100 percent from getting into, some sense, illness, but it may keep you from going to the hospital or having death as an outcome,” said Jasper.

On Monday, President Joe Biden addressed Omicron. Biden said there is no need for a new vaccine yet and to get the COVID-19 shot if you have not done so already.