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US CDC hunting for omicron variant in U.S. as cases spread globally

23:00  30 november  2021
23:00  30 november  2021 Source:   nbcnews.com

Omicron Variant: Germany, Czech Republic Report Suspected Cases After U.K. Confirmation

  Omicron Variant: Germany, Czech Republic Report Suspected Cases After U.K. Confirmation Several countries, including the U.S., Japan and Israel, have announced travel restrictions to avoid the mass spread of the latest COVID variant.Germany's Hessian Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration said Saturday that an individual who traveled to Germany from South Africa is suspected to be infected with the Omicron variant.

The CDC advised all adults should get the Covid booster shot when they are eligible, a change from earlier advice that some adults could choose to do so. The emergence of the omicron variant has changed the advice, broadening the "should" recommendation to all adults. As "scientists in the United States and around the world are urgently examining vaccine effectiveness related to this variant ," Walensky said, "I strongly encourage the 47 million adults who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to vaccinate the children and teens in their families as well because strong

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) has encouraged all American adults to get a booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine citing the “increased transmissibility” of the Omicron variant of the virus. Citing “early data from South Africa” where the variant was first identified earlier this month, Walensky pointed out that the newly-detected strain appears to be more contagious, and noted that its discovery prompted a review of vaccine effectiveness in the US and around the world.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that it has drastically increased its ability to test SARS-CoV-2 virus samples for the omicron variant.

The agency said it's now sequencing about 1 out of every 7 PCR tests positive for Covid-19, which is approximately 80,000 samples per week.

“That’s more than any other country,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House Covid briefing Tuesday. Earlier this year, she said, the CDC was sequencing about 8,000 samples per week.

Full coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic

By far, the highly contagious delta variant continues to be most dominant, accounting for 99.9 percent of Covid cases in the United States, according to CDC data.

The Latest: Local transmission of virus variant in Scotland

  The Latest: Local transmission of virus variant in Scotland LONDON -- Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there is evidence of local transmission of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus after the country reported its first six cases. She told a news conference that not all the cases in Scotland had links to recent travel, adding that this suggests “there might already be some community transmission of this variant in Scotland.” The new cases takes the U.K.’s total to nine after three cases were identified in England over the weekend.The arrival of the variant on British shores prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to tighten restrictions on mask-wearing and testing of international arrivals to England.

Omicron variant : U . S . doctor discusses when we’ll find out if the vaccines work. Even prior to the detection of the new variant , Europe was in the throes of rising cases resulting from the globally dominant and highly virulent “delta” variant , which had sent cases in some countries to record highs and led to the imposition of social restrictions once again. Dr. Kavita Patel of Brookings Institution told CNBC Monday that it would take approximately one to two weeks for scientists to be able to replicate the virus, and demonstrate whether it can be neutralized by existing antibodies.

" CDC is continuously monitoring variants and the U . S . variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in this country. We expect Omicron to be identified quickly, if it emerges in the U . S .," it said. The newly identified strain — referred to as lineage B.1.1.529 — was first detected in South Africa and raised concerns due to the rapid rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country' s Gauteng province. The UN health agency only designates Covid strains as variants of concern when they're more transmissible, more virulent or more adept at evading vaccines and

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange) also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes Covid-19. (NIAID-RML) © Provided by NBC News This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange) also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes Covid-19. (NIAID-RML)

The omicron variant has not yet been detected in this country, but experts say it's only a matter of time. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that as of Tuesday afternoon, 226 cases had been found in 20 countries, including neighboring Canada.

"It might already be here, certainly not in large amounts, but it may already be here," he told MSNBC's Craig Melvin on Tuesday.

Fauci said that once the variant is detected, the CDC is expected to make an announcement.

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Scotland Officials Concerned Omicron Variant Has Community Spread as 6 Cases Confirmed

  Scotland Officials Concerned Omicron Variant Has Community Spread as 6 Cases Confirmed Countries throughout the world are taking action to prevent a proliferation of the variant as scientists are still working to determine the danger it poses. Some nations like Japan have decided to block any foreign visitors in an effort to stop the highly mutated variant from entering its borders even as cases began popping up around the globe, AP reported.For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.New cases in Portugal and Scotland might already point toward local spread of the variant outside of southern Africa.

Omicron variant cases have been detected in numerous countries, including Canada. No cases have been found in the United States, but many experts says it' s inevitable. "This new variant , B.1.1.529 seems to spread very quick!" Tulio de Oliveira, director of South Africa' s Center for Epidemic Response & Innovation, and a genetics researcher at Stellenbosch University, said on Twitter. Also, genetic sequencing showed it carried a large number of troubling mutations on the spike protein — the knoblike structure on the surface of the virus that it uses to grapple onto the cells it infects.

The CDC found no case of the new COVID-19 omicron variant in the US. The report was release Friday night, with US COVID Czar Anthony Fauci warning on Saturday that the variant could already be in the country. President Biden has imposed a travel ban to eight South African countries, where omicron was first reported, which will take effect on Monday. Flights from South Africa continue to come in over the weekend with the CDC saying any cases of omicron would be 'identified quickly'.

Many questions about omicron remain: Does it spread faster than delta? Does it cause people to get sicker? How well do the vaccines protect people against the variant?

It will likely be several weeks before scientists can pin down those answers; any guesses before then "remain speculative," Fauci said during the Covid team briefing.

While there is preliminary evidence that omicron’s mutations may render the vaccines less effective, experts say they’re highly unlikely to render them useless.

Indeed, the Biden administration has strengthened its push for a Covid booster shot for all adults.

"Getting boosted will give you the highest level of protection from Covid and this new variant," White House Covid response coordinator Jeff Zients said during Tuesday's briefing.

Nearly 75 percent of those eligible for Covid vaccines have received at least one dose, according to CDC data. Just under 22 percent eligible for the booster have had the shot.

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These are the states where the omicron variant has been identified .
The new omicron coronavirus variant has been found in 12 U.S. states just three days days after the first case in the country was announced. The new variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, was announced in late November and has already spread to dozens of countries across the world. One day after Thanksgiving, the Wold Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency meeting on the variant, which it has determined is a "variant ofThe new variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, was announced in late November and has already spread to dozens of countries across the world.

usr: 1
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