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US Covid cases on the rise again, but it's still delta, not omicron, driving the surge

02:07  04 december  2021
02:07  04 december  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.

Even as more and more states report their first cases of the omicron variant, it's still the super contagious delta variant that's driving nearly all new Covid-19 cases in the United States.

  Covid cases on the rise again, but it's still delta, not omicron, driving the surge © Provided by NBC News

What's more, it appears cases are once again rising after Thanksgiving.

Full coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic

Dr. Michael Saag, an associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has seen a "notable increase" of Covid patients in need of monoclonal antibody treatments over the past 24 hours.

"Think about it," Saag said. "Somebody gets exposed and infected on Thursday or Friday of last week. Then it takes two or three days for incubation."

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.

By all accounts, the driver of current Covid cases across the United States remains the delta variant of the coronavirus, not omicron.

"I know that the news is focused on omicron, but we should remember that 99.9 percent of cases in the country right now are from the delta variant," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday during a news briefing. The majority of cases, she said, are among people who remain unvaccinated.

Walensky reported that the current seven-day average of new Covid cases is about 86,400 per day. On this day one month ago, according to CDC data, the seven-day average was 70,000 cases per day.

Delta is certainly behind that increase. How omicron may drive cases moving forward remains a mystery.

Americans face at least 2 weeks of uncertainty as scientists work to answer 3 key questions about the new Omicron variant

  Americans face at least 2 weeks of uncertainty as scientists work to answer 3 key questions about the new Omicron variant Americans face at least two weeks of uncertainty before major questions may get answered about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. © Steve Pfost/Newsday/Getty Images Stony Brook, N.Y.: Robert Baird, of Centereach, New York is given a booster shot as members of the community are administered the COVID-19 vaccination and booster at Stony Brook University Research and Development Park in Stony Brook, New York on Nov. 17, 2021.

"It's going to take a while for us to know what the impact is going to be globally for people who are infected with omicron," Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the Biden administration, said during Friday's briefing.

Dr. Mary Bassett, health commissioner for the New York State Department of Health, said her team has ramped up genetic sequencing to detect and study the omicron variant.

"We urge the public not to panic, as we are still learning more about this variant and are prepared to handle it," Bassett said during a news conference Thursday. So far, at least five cases have been identified in New York. Omicron has also been detected in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska.

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Will omicron overtake delta as the predominant variant? No one knows — yet.

How serious is omicron? It will take weeks to understand new COVID-19 variant, experts say.

  How serious is omicron? It will take weeks to understand new COVID-19 variant, experts say. The new omicron variant presents more questions (and uncertainty) than answers. And it will take a few weeks for data to be collected and tracked.The answer to all three is an unsatisfying “We don’t know yet.

"What the virus wants is to infect more people," said Matthew Binnicker, an infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

He explained that viruses mutate because they want to live, spreading more easily from person to person.

"That's why we saw delta take over. It out-competed all of the other variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the world," Binnicker said. "It became king of the hill."

Meanwhile, doctors are preparing for what they fear will be yet another winter surge of Covid-19, attributed to more holiday gatherings.

"We have Christmas and New Year's coming up," Saag said. "Wash, rinse, repeat."

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Rhode Island reports first case of omicron variant .
Rhode Island has reported its first case of the omicron variant, making it one of the dozens of states to have detected the new COVID-19 strain. Gov. Dan McKee (D) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced the omicron case in a joint statement on Saturday. The infected individual is in their 20s and recently traveled from New York to Providence, according to the statement. The individual was fully vaccinated, but did not have a booster shot. "We fully expected that Omicron would eventually be detected in Rhode Island as it has been in our neighboring states. I want to be clear: Rhode Island is prepared. This is not cause for panic," McKee said. Video: U.K.

usr: 3
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