Omicron Covid variant in 15 states and instances more likely to rise

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, testifies through the Senate Well being, Schooling, Labor and Pensions Committee listening to titled Subsequent Steps: The Highway Forward for the COVID-19 Response, in Dirksen Constructing on Thursday, November 4, 2021.

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At the very least 15 states have detected the omicron coronavirus variant and that quantity is predicted to rise, Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky instructed ABC Information on Sunday.

“We all know we now have a number of dozen instances and we’re following them intently. And we’re each day listening to about an increasing number of possible instances in order that quantity is more likely to rise,” Walensky mentioned on “This Week.”

The variant, first found in South Africa, has a number of mutations to the spike protein that permits the virus to enter the physique, and a few of these mutations may result in elevated antibody resistance and transmissibility. Scientists are nonetheless gathering information on the virus and the effectiveness of present Covid-19 vaccines.

After being detected in a number of different international locations, the U.S. reported its first omicron case on Dec. 1. Whereas some sufferers had lately traveled to southern Africa, others had no journey historical past. That implies that neighborhood transmission is underway.

In an effort to forestall the virus from seeding itself within the U.S., officers had at first restricted journey for non-U.S. residents from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the highest U.S. infectious illness official, mentioned Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he hopes that ban might be lifted in a “affordable time period.”

Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of instances within the U.S. are nonetheless brought on by the delta variant.

“We’ve about 90 to 100,000 instances a day proper now in the USA, and 99.9% of them are the delta variant,” Walensky mentioned.

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