The primary case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant has been recognized in America, the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) confirmed at the moment. A coronavirus an infection in California was recognized because the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) utilizing genomic sequencing on the College of California, San Francisco.
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Particulars of the precise case are nonetheless in brief provide. The person, unnamed by the CDC, “was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22, 2021” in line with the company.
Regardless of horror tales about Omicron’s potential for even higher disruption than the COVID-19 Delta variant, this primary recognized case appears to have been comparatively contained. “The person, who was absolutely vaccinated and had gentle signs which are enhancing, is self-quarantining and has been since testing optimistic,” the CDC added. “All shut contacts have been contacted and have examined destructive.”
What’s COVID-19 Omicron?
Like Delta earlier than it, Omicron is simply the newest in a sequence of variants of COVID-19, because the virus mutates and adjustments. It was first labeled as a Variant of Concern by the World Well being Group (WHO) on November 26, 2021. The US subsequently labeled it as a Variant of Concern on November 30.
Whereas named, and recognizable to lab diagnostics, there’s nonetheless loads about Omicron that’s nonetheless a thriller to scientists and lawmakers. The variant was first recognized by labs in South Africa, although it’s unclear whether or not it originated within the nation. South Africa’s longstanding experience in viral sequencing – honed throughout the nation’s prolonged HIV epidemic – has left it sometimes one of many first to pinpoint new coronavirus strains.
Nevertheless, it’s not recognized how virulent – or how more likely to unfold – Omicron is, in comparison with different variants. Equally, it’s unclear whether or not the signs and the opposite ways in which COVID-19 would possibly current would be the identical as per earlier outbreaks. That info will solely come as extra circumstances are recognized and studied.
Is Omicron extra lethal than different COVID-19 variants?
The 2 greatest questions surrounding COVID-19 Omicron undoubtedly come all the way down to severity and prevention. For former, regardless of hypothesis, nonetheless hasn’t been ascertained. It’s unknown at this level whether or not circumstances of Omicron usually tend to lead to critical sickness or demise than Delta or different variants.
As for prevention, vaccination – together with masking and social distancing – stays the most secure path to avoiding an infection. Once more, it’s unsure how efficient the present COVID-19 vaccines are in opposition to Omicron, however efforts to determine that out are already underway. Pfizer-BioNTech has mentioned that, if the present vaccine is discovered to be inadequate, it expects an up to date model might take as much as 100 days to develop.
“CDC has been actively monitoring and making ready for this variant, and we’ll proceed to work diligently with different U.S. and world public well being and business companions to study extra,” the company mentioned in an announcement at the moment. “Regardless of the detection of Omicron, Delta stays the predominant pressure in the USA.”
What occurs subsequent?
For the second, the official recommendation hasn’t modified. “The current emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) additional emphasizes the significance of vaccination, boosters, and normal prevention methods wanted to guard in opposition to COVID-19,” the CDC emphasised. “Everybody 5 and older ought to get vaccinated boosters are beneficial for everybody 18 years and older.”
Efforts to deploy the COVID-19 vaccine within the US proceed. As of the newest figures, over 197 million persons are absolutely vaccinated in the USA. Greater than 41 million have acquired a booster dose since August 13, 2021.