New COVID-19 ‘Omicron’ variant: The facts

November 29, 2021

After nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has mutated once again. South African scientists identified a new COVID-19 variant Wednesday named “Omicron,” which they worry will be more spreadable due to its many mutations

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Omicron has a heightened risk of infection compared to previous COVID-19 variants. The WHO has noted that in recent weeks, COVID-19 cases have undergone a steady increase and that due to a higher detection rate, the new variant might have a growth advantage. 

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has explained that diagnostic labs can promptly detect Omicron. Additionally, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins stated that the COVID-19 vaccines should be effective against it

So far, Omicron has begun its journey around the globe in multiple countries. Officials first reported cases in Britain, Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel, many of which came from individuals who had recently traveled to South Africa. But the new variant has now made its way into Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Australia. Canadian officials have also indicated that Omicron has entered North America, and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has noted that it will undoubtedly spread to the U.S.

With that in mind, President Joe Biden has urged citizens to protect themselves against the new variant.

“If you have not gotten vaccinated, or have not taken your children to get vaccinated, now is the time,” President Joe Biden said.

 

Additional Resources

For more information and live updates about the Omicron variant and COVID-19, be sure to check out the links below:

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